tambi singapore

Harmony of Korean and Indian — Tambi eloquently conveys the elegance of fusion cuisine

My meal at Tambi is best characterised by one vivid moment — when the signature bone marrow murtabak descended upon the glossy turquoise tiled counter, sitting assuredly in formation with a mound of tangerine-hued slivers. A mound of kimchi.

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Rather unconventional, almost weird, to witness so unnatural of a pairing.

Yet, that stands as the natural pattern of Tambi’s menu, prevalently repeated in couplings such as beef bulgogi with sothi and raita with kimchi.

To many, fusion cuisine can be daunting and perceived as contrived. Naturally, the melding of multiple cuisines is a balancing act. One that demands a sense of seamlessness.

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However, that also represents the idiosyncratic allure of Tambi. As a concept, it is marvellously intriguing. The Telok Ayer restaurant is a bodacious experiment by two virtuosos at the peak of their respective cultural cuisines.

Tambi is a collaborative effort by Meta’s Chef Sun Kim and Thevar’s eponymous Chef Mano Thevar — a concept that seeks a seamless amalgamation of modern Korean and Indian cuisine

But congruence is perhaps more of a promise when both lead acclaimed establishments, both having two Michelin stars to boast of.

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Ensconced amidst the vibrance of Amoy Street, Tambi appears unassuming on its facade, using only a suite of bold basil-hued trimmings to announce its existence. Inside though, the restaurant presents more pizzazz.

Everything goes through a single open kitchen, ringed in by expectant diners perched over a counter, debonair in make and exquisitely tessellated with glossy turquoise squares.

Bewitching chemistry

Tambi’s menu —affixed to emerald-hued grain leather holders upon which Tamil and Korean translations are stamped in gold— takes time to study but for an esoteric concept, diversity and range are never unwelcome.

tambi bone marrow murtabak

After much deliberation and a short wait, the opening Oxtail Bone Marrow Murtabak ($26) found its way to our section of the communal counter — it’s presented in a peculiar silhouette, compressed into a squarish brown parcel.

Tambi’s interpretation of the murtabak is, as mentioned, served with green papaya kimchi. Perhaps small in make but veritably massive in flavour, luscious juice bursts and satisfying, airy crackles set the stage.

But the kimchi‘s vivacious acidity is the salient component that allows the ensemble to dazzle. Gracefully serrating through the heft, it bolsters the charm of this reinterpreted classic with those extra dimensions keeping it from slipping into surfeit territory. 

tambi review singapore maggi goreng

Contrasted against that, Tambi’s Maggie Goreng (S$16) is a less exaggerated reinterpretation of an age-old blueprint.

In this plate, the restaurant envisions the glorious guilty pleasure of maggie goreng with distinctly different textures, transforming the mouthfeel with the feistier chewier of Korean noodles.

As for the flavours, the rambunctious seasoning hits the spot with gusto and comfort in bursts of heat and umami — dubbed “grandma’s secret seasoning”, there’s a familiarity to its profile, without any outlandish fusion touches obfuscating. 

Elegant fusion is just as much about understanding where to draw the line for creativity, after all. Alas, S$16 also represents a rather exaggerated price tag for a dish such as maggie goreng and its tweaks and quality —while great— could struggle to assuage some on the premium.

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Then there’s Tambi’s Bibimmyeon (S$26), slender cold noodle threads wound up, crocheted — reminiscent of pasta plating at more snazzy outfits. Comparatively, it’s less focused on adding Indian elements and instead prepared with a tasteful dash of modernity. 

Possibly one of the establishment’s biggest crowd-pleasers, the dish plays out on the palate with a wonderful chemistry between the chilly, silky noodle textures and the controlled kiss of spice buried within the addictively tangy sauce. 

Then to finish with aplomb: A explosion of umami ikura. There’s nothing quite avant-garde about this dish, just a no-frills and coherent modern take on a Korean classic which relies on sound execution.

And that, I think, is a fitting way to look at Tambi. Even amidst endeavours to marry aspects of both cuisines, the culinary direction avoids contrived clashes.

This is fusion perfected for a casual setting — modern, elegant, seamless, and, most importantly, not rocket science.

Make a reservation online before visiting Tambi at Telok Ayer.


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  • Address: 47 Amoy St, Singapore 069873
  • Hours: (Mon–Tues) 6pm to 11pm, (Wed–Sat) 12pm to 3pm, 6pm to 11pm

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