We booked a session for omakase dinner at the artistic bar/restaurant Dstllry the other night for my wife’s birthday, and we got lost. I think that’s probably the first experience that the business owner Andrew Lum would have you experience. Unwittingly of course.
We booked the 6.30pm slot for their Japanese fusion omakase dinner (which has recently got some nice reviews) and were just minutes away from the area and then we realised that we were lost and have been going around in circles (incidentally they are located at media circle). We circled Infinite Studios once and then decided that it was enough circling and called the restaurant for directions but still we couldn’t see anything that remotely resembled a Japanese restaurant.
And then with clues and hints, we arrived at what looked like an art/photo gallery of some sort with a music stand outside with a message that read “Dstllry is open”. Okay, I really didn’t expect that.
I was half expecting some Japanese looking venue with traditional Japanese wordings and bannerettes of samurais with their tongues sticking out and their menacing blades.
And as we pushed opened the glass door, we were immediately embraced with the jazzy tunes of ambient lounge music. Nice. Instantly, I felt at home and liked the place. A large door left slightly ajar revealed an even darker interior, kind of like a dragon and dungeons risk reward adventure where warriors and knights venture into dark unknowns. We had none of that I assure you. But what we saw was interesting and fresh.
We were suddenly greeted with a bustle of activity and laughter with a dimly lit centralized bar counter staffed with bartenders and omakase artisan chefs. It was a very nice play on the lighting I must admit. Surreal, mysterious, private and very discreet indeed.
At first glance it felt like we were entering into the dark room of a large photo studio but when we got in, it was totally not what we expected it to be. So that was a nice surprise.
There was enough lighting at the bar for the staff to work and for customers to see what they were going to consume. It was very well planned and executed. Kudos to the brains behind the business and the genius of weaving everything together.
The amazing thing that struck me most was the amount of space there was. You could literally fit an army in there and yet that didn’t bother the owner. “it’s all about the experience..” said the master distiller Andrew Lum with a serious look on his face. The concentration and focus of activity was definitely at the bar and that was exactly where we were led to and seated.
We were offered a nice corner at the bar and that was to be where we were going to do dinner. Very simple yet delicately planned. The intention was to have customers interact with staff and that was what our chatty bartender did all night.
The bar consisted of two main sections with a huge array of spirits hording the centre of the bar. A small section for a-la-carte customers for their bar menu and the rest (about 12 seats) for omakase. There is also production grade music equipment located right at the back where Andrew would work on his musician projects, or otherwise it also doubles up as the music station for belting out those lush tunes for the restaurant.
Everything was laid out in plain view and we could see what the chefs were doing as they busied themselves preparing our courses.
6.30pm. Here we go. The chefs plated our small dishes before us and proceeded to explain in some detail why and how they had intended to cook our meals. The music was a little too loud and all we heard were muffled explanations and descriptions. They were all premium ingredients so for the price we paid, it was very reasonable indeed.
On a scale of 10 courses, 9 of them worked for me. Notably the sashimi platter with a twist, the wagyu steak on rice and the urchin truffle vanilla ice cream. We had a very nice bottle of sake and the rest was just happy chatter and a great night out. Here are some photos to whet your appetite. Better hurry they change their menus on a monthly basis.