Tiong Bahru cafe revitalised, hidden steaks in ice cream parlour, and carnivorous caveman takes bold evolutionary step forward.

Fat Belly

Flat iron steak ($22)

You probably know what a speakeasy is—a hidden bar with no signage that recalls the Prohibition era when such an establishment had to lay low—but have you heard of a speakeasy-style steakhouse?

That’s what chef-owner Stanley Seow has introduced with Fat Belly, a 10-seat bar serving alternative, affordable cuts of beef that rotate seasonally. Where is it hidden? All the way inside his recently renovated ice cream parlour Sugarhaus which expanded into a neighbouring unit, making room for the new concept.

Both the flat iron ($22) and short rib ($25) are excellent, but pick the latter if you prefer a more unctuous cut. Each steak is served with Himalayan pink salt, green chimichurri and house salad, with optional sides ($5) like truffle fries and creamed kale.

Foie gras ice cream ($13)

For dessert, you won’t go wrong ordering the galaxy tart ($8)—it looks and tastes divine—or the foie gras-flavoured ice cream with brûléed bananas and roasted nuts ($13). But if you’re new to Sugarhaus, be sure to explore their range of 18 other ice cream flavours ($3.50/scoop). We recommend starting with speculoos or hibiscus yoghurt.

#01-03A Serene Centre, 10 Jalan Serene. Tel: 6314 2247

FYR

FYR (pronounced ‘fire’) has toned down its caveman stylings and stripped away the riot of cartoons scrawled on its walls for a more modern and urbane evolution.

Make no mistake. The restaurant is still meat-centric and fire-focused, offering large servings of pork and beef. (The Caveman Supper ($150), a whopping 5kg heap of roasted meat and vegetables, is still available if you wish to unleash your inner Neanderthal.)

But culinary director Micail Chepi has largely revamped the (slightly illegible) menu, expanding the small plate selection and generally endowing dishes with a more refined presentation.

Wagyu striploin ($22/$36)

Among the small plates we tried, the Wagyu striploin ($22/$36) with oyster vinaigrette and date sauce was a standout; our favourite main was the Ibérico pork tomahawk ($46), though the flavour of the rum-infused pineapple chunks takes some getting used to; the Brussels sprouts ($8) anointed with bacon made a lovely side; and a winning dessert was the black sticky rice with grapes and coconut ice cream ($12).

19 Boon Tat Street. Tel: 6221 3703

Caffe Pralet

11 years ago, Judy Koh opened Caffe Pralet next to her cooking school Creative Culinaire in Tiong Bahru. But today, it’s her 25-year-old son, Timothy Chia, who leads the kitchen. After three years as head chef, he’s decided to revitalise the cafe with an updated menu and a refreshed interior.

Previously, the cafe stuck to basics such as chicken chop and fish and chips. Now, Timothy has upped the ante, starting with a lunch menu of scrumptious rice bowls. No shoddy components slapped together here. Flavours are on point, right down to the rice, which is seasoned with sesame oil and furikake—so good even on its own.

Roasted sesame chicken rice bowl ($11)

The signature roasted sesame chicken rice bowl ($11) is unassuming in concept but bursting with flavour at every turn, thanks to the complementary trio of toppings: tender sesame chicken, garlic cherry tomatoes, braised shimeiji mushrooms perfumed with truffle oil.

You should also try the mentaiko battered fish rice bowl ($12): chunks of fried dory slathered with mentaiko cream, alongside furikake pumpkin and a cabbage and carrot slaw tossed in lime juice and olive oil.

Timothy tends to strike a balance in his dishes such that they don’t end up too heavy. Take the chilli crab cheese fries ($12), where the rich melange of sauces is finished with a crumbling of plain pasteurized crab flesh for contrast in colour and flavour.

Chilli crab cheese fries ($12)

We’ll surely be back to tackle dinner offerings such as har jeong gai charcoal burger ($17) and smoked hoisin duck pizza ($18). With the same quality bakes as before (from cakes to croissants) and a more robust food menu to boot, Caffe Pralet may just become your new favourite all-day dining spot.

#01-04 Eng Hoon Mansions, 17 Eng Hoon Street. Tel: 6223 5595