When the previous tenant below 66 Boat Quay suddenly closes overnight leaving everything behind including its dirty dishes, the plight signals an opportunity for the folks above. And above just so happens to be the popular nightlife venue, Headquarters by Thugshop, one that local rave punters are familiar with. When the collective took over the space, they leveraged what they knew best: curation. The hideout takes a page off the industrial yet chic playbook – think textured red-brick walls, mismatched vintage furniture, and steel elements. It is also blessed with breezy alfresco seats along the iconic Singapore River.
Art also plays a huge part in giving the indoor space its identity. On the walls are commissioned artworks from graffiti-style paintings to contemporary illustrations of pop-culture icons by Venezuelan mixed-media artist Eduardo Enrique and Brazilian artist Butcher Billy. Even the tunes are specially curated sets by homegrown DJs, so don’t expect your Singapore Top 50 sing-alongs. One thing’s for sure, counterculture is definitely in the house.
The venture into the world of restaurants is still an entirely new frontier for the party collective. Fortunately, they’ve got ex-Les Amis Group chef Brandon Lee at the helm. The young chef’s culinary philosophy is all about making fine dining accessible through his elevated modern Asian plates. Think classic Caesar salad ($17) reinterpreted with bincho-grilled baby gem lettuce, slathered with brown butter anchovy sauce, and lifted with a tangy pistachio olive oil spread.
The crab toast ($19), a refined snack usually served in fine-dining establishments, sees a trio of buttery brioche adorned with heaps of crab claw meat and a mustard-laced brown butter aioli. Then, there are the unassuming Mac & Cheese balls ($19). Lightly crusted and fried to golden perfection, these palm-sized morsels ooze a creamy combination of cheddar, gouda and mozzarella. But it is the finishing touches of aged balsamic vinegar, smoked salt, and shavings of grana padano that leave our taste buds yearning for more.
Got a night’s worth of dancing upstairs? Fuel up with heartier mains such as the signature collagen-rich miso cod ($26) or the tender sous-vide grilled chicken ($28) with cauliflower hummus. Other popular bites include the sweet and spicy ayam bakar ($17), mushroom-powder spiked umami fries ($14), and a butternut pumpkin hummus with focaccia ($16). The fuss-free booze list features approachable bottles of natural wines and sessionable craft beers and they only go for $10 during happy hours (Tuesdays to Saturdays, from 5pm to 8pm).
Walking along the bustling Boat Quay stretch, it is hard to distinguish the sea of restaurants apart from one another. But Eat Sum Thing manages to carve out an unpretentiously cosy space where like-minded people can gather around and be comfortable in their own skin over some properly good food and music. And if Boat Quay ever needs another F&B concept, it’s gotta be this.