Trust the brains behind Keong Saik Road’s ’80s-themed restaurant and bar The Retrospective (and Bartini, along Club Street) to come up with another unique concept – you won’t find many eateries named inspired by an infamous streetwalker. Named after Japanese artist Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s fictional manga character Mariko, a prostitute forced to bed American GIs in post-World War II Japan, owners Patrick Fok and Kevin Cheng (they’re behind local restaurant and lifestyle group WWW Concepts) have attempted to replicate the feel of walking down a back alley in 1950s Tokyo, complete with dim, mysterious lighting, cobblestone floors and a neon signboard. There are also cartoon strips and a portrait of the hooker herself adorning the 2,000 sq ft, 80-seater space, divided into a general dining area and a ramen/bar counter. It’s apt that the duo have decided to pay homage to Keong Saik's seedy past.
The menu was crafted by local chef Desmond Lim (who has 30+ years’ experience working in Japanese restaurants under his belt) and they offer lunch ($18-$22), ramen and tempura items like kisu tempura ($22) and the kimchi ramen ($16), and late-night snacks ($4-$15) lilke edamame, prawn and chicken gyoza and braised duck fillet from 10.30 in the evening onwards.
The drinks menu are equally extensive: warm or cold sake, such as the Manazuru Junmai Ginjo ($12/glass, $70/bottle) and Kujirano Hirune ($14/glass, $75/bottle), Japanese whiskey and beers like the Nikka Black ($12/glass) and Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale ($16).
Lunch: $18-$22, late-night snacks (from 10.30pm): $5-$15
4 Jiak Chuan Road
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sat 5pm-1am|
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