[dropcap size=small]I[/dropcap]f interiors at The Ottomani jogged your memory a little, it’s because it has remained untouched since its previous life as another backdoor restaurant. The space, formerly dubbed ‘The Ottoman Room’ just last year, occupies the back of a Middle Eastern cafe-bar, Fat Prince, at Tanjong Pagar.
Previously, the menu focused on a selection of mezze plates and straightforward Middle Eastern-inspired fare. The space was always meant for a strictly-dinner spot according to owners, The Dandy Partnership (the same team behind Neon Pigeon and Summerlong). Its interiors call for a more sophisticated and intimate experience than its casual front . The interiors are dark, save for the suspended oil lanterns. Squint hard enough and you can make out the other details – the floral murals on the wall, the richly patterned Turkish carpets and the coffered ceilings. The plush seating add a touch of ‘roaring twenties’ elegance and red suede curtains hide exit doors to complete the immersive atmosphere.
But now, with its latest update as The Ottomani, a refined approach has been taken towards its cuisine and service. It is now a supper club, a more exclusive concept than its predecessor. Here, the trolley (formerly for the aforementioned mezze plates) is now a portable cocktail bar pushed around by sleek-haired gentlemen donning crisp white shirts and suspenders. There’s also a new chef, Nic Philip, on-board. The Australia-born chef was previously head chef at beach clubs and has spent some time at London’s restaurants The Clove Club (#26 on World’s 50 Best) and Nopi.
Starters here range from snacks to small plates. The salmon pastirma, a cured Turkish dish, is a light start to the meal. A piece of salmon is served on a cracker topped with nashi pear, pine nuts and olive labneh. For something more aromatic go for the kebab tartare, a quenelle of ground beef mixed with herbs and finished with caviar – also served per piece. From the small plates are the spinach and cheese triangles, a homey-sounding combination, which is jazzed up with a savoury filling of smoked manouri cheese and kale, finished with leek ash and a paste of cured lemons.
Philip’s next dish, Spring & Winter, showcases a finer and more creative take on Middle Eastern flavours and seasonal ingredients. ‘Winter’ is represented by grilled broccoli, seasoned with fresh herbs, and ‘Spring’ with raw asparagus. The vegetable combination is served together with smoked mussel, herb emulsion and a creamy hazelnut dukkah.
For bigger groups, the menu offers meats cooked in an wood-fired earth pit that Philip tends to every night before the restaurant closes. Meats are slow-roasted overnight, lending a soft tenderness and aroma to the dishes. There’s the sticky pork belly prepared with palm sugar, szechuan pepper and a Turkish coffee rub.
While there’s isn’t a dedicated bar space, owing to the size of the restaurant, its pushcart bar is an opportunity for some personalised cocktail making action. There are some interesting twists to the classics. The Turk Kajvesi G&T is coffee-infused gin served together with a bottle of tonic (you can adjust to your liking). The Smoked Fashioned is another fun take with Money Shoulder, banana syrup and spiced maple and BBQ bitters.
With the mesmerising atmosphere, coupled together with attentive service, you’ll find The Ottomani a wonderful getaway from the buzzing nightlife around Tanjong Pagar. You might just want to spend the whole night here sipping cocktails.
48 Peck Seah Street
+65 9231 9316