best keong saik food

Hevel: Glamour and zest for life make Keong Saik’s new Date-night Restaurant a core memory 

The Keong Saik of today is not the same as before. Once home to numerous titanic names of Singapore’s dining scene, the vicinage seems to be on its last legs as it founders under the threat of vacating favourites and fading stalwarts. But even amidst the waning embers, a few sparks of optimism have roused — one of them is the vibrant new Hevel.    

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Located at the cross-section that straddles the buzzy Neil Road and Craig Road, the upstart brings a whiff of fresh air to Keong Saik with an affinity for splendour and visual aesthetics.

At the entrance, a snazzy bar area receives guests with a shower of cosy warm lights, backed by a retro marble counter and a wall studded with glitzy square tiles, exuding a modishly vintage charm.

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That panache extended inward, with the dining room wrapped in warm tones and balmy lights, spread out across a sea of plush velour texture, checkered carpet, and a bodacious choice of burnt orange as foundation colour.

Accenting the chic is a miscellany of trinkets littered around the periphery — cryptic street photography prints add a touch of culture, Diptyque candles suggest tastefulness, and a melange of lamps light up the room with their eclectic form factors.


Even finer details are exposed when seated, with the sheeny tabletop pulled up towards your line of sight. Hevel’s tables are striking as they glisten with a high shine while salacious deep-clay veins tunnel through the orange-coral surface.

It’s at the seats that you’re hit with the revelation that Hevel’s space is judiciously planned, as tables are tucked close enough to strike up an inkling of a lively retro lounge — but far enough to afford privacy.

Within this configuration, a semi-open kitchen is allocated a cosy corner to the left, granting diners a small window into the intricacies of the kitchen team’s service as led by Hevel’s Chef-Owner Stefan Liau, who hails from the luxe halls of Mandala Club.

Hevel’s Heavy Modern flair

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Modern recalibration and European influences command the culinary stage here, as Chef Stefan weaves in deft touches of fusion into Hevel’s menu, presented simply as one tasting menu ($138++), sans the a la carte.

It starts with a trio of dainty snacks: a kelp and cashew tartlet, tuna and seaweed toasties and chicken liver on xeres crackers.

Small in size, big on flavour, and treated with finesse as minute details tell the story, such as a tasty liver pate that’s cleansed of most of the offal funk or a fragrant kiss of banana enlivening the kelp’s savoury profile.

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The meal then progresses to the first lone plate: a custard which posits a more modern interpretation of Japanese chawan mushi, doused in sweet onion sauce.

Hevel remains fairly faithful to the classic delicacy and lightness but shows its flair with an introduction of New Zealand mussels into a school of ikura, injecting an enlivening layer of brine that elevates the comforting but simple base profile.

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Moving on, Hevel presents another ensemble of dishes once again: this time, a quartet of Bread & Butter, Mackerel, Potato Hash, and Octopus. As before, the concepts were all sound in execution while soaked in tasteful splashes of creativity.

One remarkable quirky creation was the Mackerel, where the buttery fish is left swimming in a pool of piquant passionfruit sauce — a zesty and funky dish that requires a little rumination to appreciate.

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In comparison, the tender Octopus lunges more aggressively at guests, dressed in a full-bodied piquillo pepper sauce that impresses with a potent mix of spice and savoury oomph.

Straddling the balance between the two, the Potato Hash was a more balanced dish that empathetically asserts itself as one of the star contenders on Hevel’s menu.

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A base of cracklingly airy potato hash, decadently umami uni, and the sprightly acidity of leeks — this one is a bite blessed with elegant textural and flavour interplay.

That said, there was a weak link between the four: the dry texture of the rye bread was a point of disappointment, considering how fabulous the sakura-smoked butter paired with the earthiness of the rolls.

The piece de resistance

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Arriving at the mains, the creativity takes a bit of a backseat as the exquisite proteins are given the spotlight where the decision is between an Iberico Pork Presa and Beef Short Rib. 

Both mains came with Hevel’s stable execution but the porcine entree was a clear winner with its immaculate succulence and moreish blueberry sauce that grinds through the heaviness with a touch of wine-like acidity.

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As impressive as the meats were, make no mistake: Hevel’s duck with roasted barley and white onion (+S$18 for black winter truffle) is the piece de resistance, where a porridge-like base of barley and white onion foam sets the stage for morsels of tender duck.

Exceedingly more than the sum of its parts, the dish astounds with its plush texture while the light gamey richness of the duck plays seamlessly into the luscious onion.

However, adding truffle is paramount to unlock the dish’s full potential as the intoxicating aromas truly accentuate the comforting medley of flavours — with it, it’s a euphoric indulgence.

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Wrapping up Hevel’s course menu are options of Earl Grey Pudding and Strawberries and Cream. Both of them were well-crafted desserts and excellent bookends to the dinner.

The former is an earthy delight that props up the vibrant bergamot citrus with earthy sencha, catered towards less fervently sweet-inclined palates.

In comparison, the latter felt like a more routinely tangy and fruity palate refresher — however, the finesse in using basil as an instrument of complexity made me more partial towards it.


Considering the reliability of execution, engrossing ambience, and plentitude of courses, Hevel’s S$138 dinner service doesn’t feel too pricey, even with the usual attitude of caution towards a swanky new establishment. 

This might not be the next envelope-breaking Michelin magnet, but Keong Saik’s chicest, most holistic date-night restaurant might just be one of the top newcomers to watch out for — especially as Chef Stefan and the team continue to gel together.

Before visiting, make an online reservation for Hevel.


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  • Address: 1 Keong Saik Road, #01-04, Singapore 089109
  • Hours: (Tues–Sat) 6:30pm to 10:30pm

*This was an invited tasting.


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