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The warehouse that was once Zouk is now Jiak Kim House, a new restaurant serving modern Asian food

Dine where you once partied (but no more stumbling out drunk at 2am).

20 Feb 2024 07:16AM (Updated: 20 Feb 2024 08:14AM)

(Photo: Jiak Kim House)

Whether you met your significant other at Zouk, bartended there for extra pocket money or used to spend all your time mambo-ing with your friends when you’d told your mother you were studying, you can now sit down to a meal while reminiscing about when you were footloose, fancy-free and didn't have back pain at Jiak Kim House, a new restaurant on the very same site where Singapore’s most storied club stood for 25 years.

Even if you were too cool – or too young – for Zouk, the restaurant by The Brewerkz Group, which is also behind F&B concepts like Koji, Cafe Iguana and Crystal Wines, has an interesting menu of modern Asian dishes with a personal spin put on them by chef-partner Seow Tzi Qin, as well as unique cocktails and drinks inspired by regional flavours.  

Jiak Kim House's interior. (Photo: CNA/May Seah)

Two of the three 1920s conservation warehouses that used to house the club have been turned into an events space as well as the reception area of the newly developed Fraser Residence River Promenade serviced apartments. The third, which used to be the club’s entrance, is now the Jiak Kim House restaurant.

Remember when Zouk was at Jiak Kim Street? (Photo: Zouk Singapore)

Rising above the doors is the warehouse facade’s unique scallop-shaped pediment, where the Zouk sign used to hang.

Inside the restaurant’s front doors, there’s a bar and a foyer designed to look like an elegant living room, with tributes on the walls to Tan Jiak Kim, the Peranakan businessman after whom the restaurant and the street it stands on are named.

There’s also a floral atelier where guests can order bouquets and customised flower arrangements. If you’re here on a date, you can even order a bouquet with your table. So, no more excuses, guys.

Behind the main dining room and kitchen, there’s a private dining room opening up to the riverside that can host functions of up to 40 people. Couples who met at Zouk – this is the perfect venue for an intimate vow renewal ceremony.

(Photo: Jiak Kim House)

Great care was taken to retain and restore the original structure, and the bones of the interior remain unchanged – look up and you’ll see the warehouse’s original 100-year-old timber trusses.

Meanwhile, the vast 120-seat restaurant’s decor is inspired by Southeast Asian elements and a blend of past and present as well as east and west, honouring its situation in historical time and place.

Chef-partner Seow Tzi Qin (Photo: Jiak Kim House)

The cuisine, as well, takes heritage cooking from around the region and local favourites as its inspiration, with Singaporean Seow at the kitchen’s helm.

Mushroom Herbal Tea "Macchiato" (Photo: CNA/May Seah)

In a Mushroom Herbal Tea Macchiato (S$22), for example, he’s combined the ideas of bak kut teh and his weekly fix of bubble tea into one delicious soup: A peppery consomme of herbs and spices blended with a mushroom broth made from white button mushrooms, topped with green peppercorn-infused foam and served with mini dough fritters on the side.

Tingkat of Memories (Photo: CNA/May Seah)

Another evocative starter is the Tingkat of Memories (S$36) featuring four snacks served in a traditional four-tier “tingkat”: Crab cakes infused with lemongrass, ginger flower, laksa leaf and mint, served with assam mayo; chilli crab kueh pie tee; lamb goulash croquettes with mint coriander coulis; and tri-coloured otak-otak made up of layers of batang fish paste and prawn chunks.

Herbal Scallop "Pao Fan" (Photo: CNA/May Seah)

Interesting mains include a Herbal Scallop “Pao Fan” (S$42) featuring Hokkaido scallops roasted in seaweed butter, herbal dash-poached daikon, cordyceps, ikura and crispy rice puffs.

Beef Tongue-to-Tail (Photo: Jiak Kim House)

There’s also Beef Tongue-to-Tail (S$42), a plate of rendang beef short rib, ox tongue and spiced, stewed oxtail, served with grated coconut-topped potatoes, grilled shishito peppers and a rojak salad.

Then there’s Garum Quail Panggang (S$46), a dish of grilled quail served with cauliflower bhaji and celeriac mash with truffle sauce.

Opeh Leaf Laksa Fettucine (S$42), served wrapped up in the light tan-coloured leaf of its name, is cooked with handmade ulam or mixed herbs and served with obsiblue prawns, mud crab, sliced fish, prawn paste and sambal.

"Jiak Kim" (Photo: CNA/May Seah)

For dessert, the Jiak Kim (S$22) takes inspiration from the historical figure’s name, which means “to eat gold”. Gold foil tops layers of roselle hawthorn jelly, earl grey mousse, berry compote and chocolate cream, shaped into a flower.

Meanwhile, Snow Peak (S$22) is another interesting dessert of Moutai and pineapple-infused sorbet and cubes of diced scoby, the cloudy, jelly-like substance that forms in the fermentation of kombucha.

Set lunch menus are also available Mondays to Fridays at S$52++ for two courses and S$65++ for three courses.

On the cocktail menu, you’ll find drinks like Emperor State (S$26), which combines homemade durian liqueur, pisco, chartreuse green liqueur, thyme and lemonade; and The Asian “Banana” (S$26), which features Filipino banana liqueur, Filipino brandy, cherry liqueur and spiced bitters.

Have a drink, a bite to eat and a toast to the good old days.

Jiak Kim House is at 5 Jiak Kim Street #01-16/17.

Source: CNA/my


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