The first thing that captures your attention when entering The Kongsee are its aesthetics. Vibrant graffiti art showcasing Singapore’s eclectic culture adorns its walls, red paper aeroplanes hang playfully from the ceiling, peranakan tiles spread across tabletops rather than floors, and neon lights in various hues bathe the entire venue in a low humming glow.
It’s a visual treat, one that’s a mish mash or urban city street vibes and Singapore’s rich heritage. And that melding of old and new, modernity and tradition, is kinda what the food and drinks offering is all about at The Kongsee (whose name by the way signifies ‘company’ in Hokkien dialect and ‘sharing’ in Malay).
Mod-sin izakaya cuisine is the style of dining here, and it makes sense, once you know that it’s none other than chef-partner Willin Low at the helm of the kitchen here. The mod-sin pioneer serves up dishes familiar to any local, but often done with a fun twist.
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There’s the Krapow Prata Pizza (S$15) for instance, a meeting of Thai, Indian, and Italian sensibilities into what is essentially a basil minced chicken roti wrap baked in cheese. And like any pizza, it’s comfort food, best eaten in large satisfying chomps.
A dish that has folks sitting on the fence is the Mini Roxy Crab Laksa (S$12 small/S$20 large). Actually served at Low’s restaurant in Hokkaido, Roketto Niseko, this laksa features a more delicate and balanced broth base. Though seemingly pricey for laksa, we like that the chunks of wild caught crab meat adds welcome texture and elevated nuance to the dish.
It’s the KFC (S$18/3pcs), aka Kongsee Fried Chicken, that most dive right into. Tender drumsticks coated in crispy fermented shrimp paste batter and served with a side of sriracha mayo, this is one dish that’s supremely enjoyable with Kongsee’s bevy of craft beers available on tap.
Like the KFC, the crowd-pleasing Iberico Satay (S$15 for 2/S$30 for 5) also pairs nicely with drinks. Tender, well-marinated, and with the perfect fat-to-meat ratio, these sticks of protein go really well with a freshly drafted stout.
The tap list features all locally-brewed craft beers, with familiar names like Brewlander, Off Day Beer, Niang Brewing, and Civilisation Brewing, all on the menu, so there’s bound to be a style of beer to your liking.
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Or go for a cocktail if you’re more in the mood for that. The venue’s namesake The Kongsee (S$19) is akin to a gimlet, but given more sour layers using calamansi as well as lime juice, plus a welcome puff of floral nose thanks to a rose bud infusion.
We enjoyed the Goondu Martini (S$21), where the potent Stranger & Sons Gin hailing from Goa, India is mixed with a dry vermouth and garnished using a homemade cranberry onion pickle. Seemingly simple, we appreciate the ease in how it allows every ingredient used to shine.
Being foremost an izakaya, a visit to The Kongsee is a treat whether you’re looking for a full meal or craving for small bites and drinks. Just be sure to bring along good company – the kind whom you’ll want to share the delicious spread with.
The Kongsee is located at 10 Gemmill Lane, Singapore 069251.
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About the Author
Dannon Har is the Managing Editor of Spill. Discovering his innate gift for drinking only at a ripe age, he spares no time trying to find more delicious drops to imbibe during his time on Earth. When he’s not minding every detail at Spill, he spends his time concocting luscious libations and sharing them with folks that visit his home bar.