Kilo Kitchen at Duxton Road review: Of winning small plates and signature mains from an open flame kitchen
Kilo Kitchen's repertoire has roamed far and wide — so much so that when Kilo Kallang bid farewell to the dingy industrial building, fans were left waiting to where its next move would be.
Thankfully, it wasn't that far off. Now reunited with sister establishment, Kilo Lounge at Tanjong Pagar Road, their new address revealed to be in Duxton Road — breathing life into the space left vacant by MEATliquor. And while the enclave channels a modern vibe, Kilo Kitchen made sure to stay true to its archetypal MO of a raw, exposed and industrial outfit. Repping the Kilo charm with hand-sanded concrete walls, natural stone, brass finishings and recycled timber; yet debuting bold, bright hues (of gray, gold, mustard and pink) within vintage rugs and Italian ceramic tiles. What deemed impossible in the old space at Kallang — floor-to-ceiling windows took precedence in letting in an abundance of light by day; while by night, a breezy alfresco seating for diners to watch the world go by.
On the table, many of the existing classics are elevated — under the adept hands of executive chef Manel Valero who now helms an all-new open natural flame kitchen. You'll be able to catch the chefs in action; with the fire incessantly burning with three types of wood — apple, cherry and jarrah. Things will get smokey in here.
Start your meal here at Kilo with their grilled bread of the day. It's served with a confit garlic dip that does wonders to the dough. Probably due to the fact that a combination of garlic and shallots had been bathed in olive oil for two hours. Don't forget a new addition, grilled avocado, which had been grilled on the fire oven till it's slightly charred on the outside but perfectly creamy on the inside. The perennial favourite is dabbled with ponzu sauce, crispy buckwheat puffs and yuba, a Japanese soy bean milk skin — adding apt texture to the plate.
Their small plates continue to be dishes that supercede their roles as just a starter — i.e. that ingenious squid ink rice and raw cured seafood plates like wasabi tuna tartare paving the way. Seasoned with sesame seeds, chives, wasabi and soy sauce, the raw tuna gets a pinch of mayo while best eaten with a giant flour chip, dusted with nori seaweed powder. Hot off the flame, larger mains like grilled fish of the day, lamb shank and bbq pork ribs make the perfect sharing plates to pass around the table. The aforementioned sums up a promising opening menu, and we're excited for more tantalising additions.
In lieu of a fresh new-but-still-gold start, co-founder Joshua Adjodha shares his favourite parts of Kilo Kitchen at Duxton and what the future holds for the brand.
Why did Kilo decide to move back to Tanjong Pagar? And what does it mean for the future?
Kilo Kitchen moving into Duxton reunites it with sister property, Kilo Lounge. This also means that guests can enjoy a cohesive Kilo experience — be it an ideal night out, with great modern comfort food, fresh cocktails and vibrant after-hours experience. We can expect a lot more synergies between the two properties — be it special promotions for the Lounge after dining at the Kitchen, or simply more shared experiences.
How does Kilo Kitchen at Duxton differ from the restaurant at Kallang Bugis? What can fans expect and what can they hope to see being preserved within the concept?
At Kilo, it's always been about the food and community, drinks and music. It has been, and always will be. That soulful space for people to come back to time and again, and elements of it, will no doubt be preserved. Kilo Kitchen at Duxton will also have an open-concept wood-fired kitchen, so not only will there be added depth of flavour to the food, but this also brings the concept of "stepping home" even closer to guests who can now enjoy their meal while observing how it's been prepared.
Name your favourite parts and favourite dish at the new restaurant.
My passion is cooking, so it would have to be the new kitchen. After almost eight years in Kallang, it was exciting to be able to design a dream kitchen from scratch. A laboratory during the day to experiment with the team, and a vibrant, homely open-concept kitchen for guests to marvel at while enjoying their dining experience. It's where you will find me most of the time. As for dishes, my favorite on the menu right now has to be the Atas Lentils. Every bite is pure comfort for me as it reminds me of the Latin dishes I ate growing up. Throw in some truffles, Manchego cheese and jamón ibérico with a nice glass of red and I'm good.
Tell us more about what's happening for the brand.
I'm excited to announce Kilo Kitchen & Kilo Lounge will soft launch very soon in the Gunawarman area in Jakarta this year. Along with Kilo Bali, Kilo Jakarta will be our second overseas property, set open officially on 12 January 2019.
In Jakarta, we aim to bring the full Kilo experience to the Gunawarman area. On the ground level we have our restaurant that features elements from all past Kilo Kitchens with some elevated touches. In the basement you will find Kilo Lounge, with a design reminiscent of the original outpost at Kampong Bugis which will always be dear to my heart. At the restaurant, diners can expect Kilo classics through the years with a few new additions; while at the lounge, we're looking at bringing artists from Singapore to collaborate with the local talent in Jakarta. Last but not least, you can also expect to see our Grain Traders outlets popping up in Jakarta, Los Angeles and Dubai next year. We are all excited for what the future holds.
97 Duxton Rd, Tel: 6467 3987
Opening hours: (Tues-Fri) 5.30pm–12am, (Sat) 6pm-12am