clarke quay best restaurants

Kee’s by Andrew Walsh brings a voguish but earnest European-fusion glitz to Clarke Quay

Sat on the cusp of Carpenter Street, the voguish Kee’s beckons to the busy Clarke Quay vicinage with a brightly lit sign, electrifyingly yellow and embossed in a bodacious tilted typeface.

kee's restaurant

It’s quaintly nestled inside an alcove of pimpled gravel-grey beams, as the restaurant fills up the road-facing corner of the new 23 Carpenter Street, a swanky boutique hotel which only recently took over the vintage building on the corner — one still marked with indelible traces of its heritage.

Once you’re inside and the time-worn façade is left behind, you’ll find that Kee’s is an entirely different world within the confines of its dark-tinted glass walls.

kee's singapore

Svelte modern European design ethoses take root — fluted wooden panels punctuate the restaurant and a motley of understated greys and handsome elmwood give mid-century sophistication, all accentuated by speckles of vibrant flowers and artwork to paint an immersive scene of supreme hygge.

Underneath the prepossessing trimmings and palpable sense of style, Kee’s also supplements the experience with culinary ingenuity. It is, after all, the newest concept by Michelin-starred Chef Andrew Walsh.

best date spots singapore

Assuming its place as the fifth amongst Chef Andrew’s popular concepts —counting modern Irish outfit Cure and seafood specialist Catfish amongst them— Kee’s culinary flair is inscribed with the patented instinct of melding Asian influences into sleek European creations.

Execution is Kee’s

best restaurants singapore

Marinated Green Olives ($8) introduce us to the restaurant — perfect little globes besmirched with grimy red streaks, sharply scented with fennel and citrus peels that may be too acute of a sharpness.

Assuming the role of introductory appetiser, Red Pepper Hummus (S$10) is served with dense and toasty sourdough and then finished with togarashi and basil oil, ensuring satisfying dip action, though suspiciously seamless texture deprived of hummus’ usual gritty textural charm.

kee's singapore review

Convinced that Kee’s would culminate in another satisfactory but-what-could-have-been, the pursuant Jamon Manchego Croquette (S$18/3pcs) quickly lassoed us back into the saddle of intrigue.

With its unadulteratedly sapid and creamy inner beauty, there are no arguments to be made — croquettes as simple as croquettes could be but as hard-hitting as hard-hitting manifests.

Rivals the croquettes from some of the top Spanish outfits, undoubtedly.

An Asian accent

kee's singapore tuna tartare

That was just the preamble because Kee’s grows into its potential in the realm of bigger plates which leave room for Asian-inspired manoeuvres, all beginning with the sacrosanct Tuna Tartare (S$18).

A dish guilefully pieced together as a tuna tartare but is spiritually a ceviche, the luscious chunks of audaciously florid fish are steeped in an alabaster bathe of coconut ceviche dressing.

The flavours may be intense but it’s the nuances that were more mesmerising, as the ceviche announces itself with a quirky Southeast-Asian accent —somewhere in between Thai and Vietnamese— through bursts of coconut fragrance and the inimitable herbaceous oomph of cilantro.

kee's singapore review

Kee’s accent shifts yet again as the penultimate Mediterranean Sea Bream (S$40) is brought to the table, ladled full of viridescent curry.

Maybe it’s my nostalgia creeping up but this dish almost feels like Kee’s homage to Catfish, reeling up pleasant memories of the laksa fish in its early iteration.

Supremely comforting green curry, loaded up with aromatic spices while keeping a tinge of sweetness in its smooth body, coupled with fluffy grains of coconut rice and an impeccably pan-fried sea bream rendered delicately crispy skin-top and plushly soft and sexily flaky when torn into.

kee's restaurant singapore

However, it’s the final accent jump that truly bewitched our palates as Kee’s inserts traces of a mottled French accent into its magnum opus, Pepper-Crusted Ribeye Steak Frites (S$40), slices supine to peacock their picture-perfect medium-rare pink.

Without relying on the scandalous marbling that characterises remarkably premium cuts on the market, the ribeye delivers on the lusciousness its first impression promised.

Moreso, it over-delivers what the price point assures. Notwithstanding the immaculate bite and crust, the steak is even more splendid with its muse to bring out its spark, as Kee’s makes it bedfellows with a parmesan cream sauce.

Euphorically umami and ambrosially nutty, the sauce is the je ne sais quoi, marrying fragrant velvety bliss with an almost Chinese-sesame-sauce-like comfort. Rambunctious but sophisticated at the same time — unreal.

kee's andrew walsh

Fittingly, the steak frites might be the most articulate way to sum up the night at Kee’s. The team has mastered the art of guile, building everything upon sophistication and sound execution but mystifying palates with curious suggestions of Asian flavours.

It’s familiar yet strange at the same time. It’s not overtly experimental yet ingenious simultaneously. It’s sophisticated yet unpretentious. With relative affordability and voguish style, Kee’s potential as one of Singapore’s best casual fusion restaurants could earn some credence.

Or at the very least, it’s undoubtedly one of Clarke Quay’s best, most spectacular date spots.

Make a reservation online before visiting Kee’s at Clarke Quay.


Website | Instagram

  • Address: 21 Carpenter St, Singapore 059984
  • Hours: (Mon–Sun) 7pm to 12am

*This was an invited tasting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>