Review: Ke Zhan

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What: Ke Zhan
Where: 9 Raffles Boulevard, #01-11/12/13, Millenia Walk
Type: Bar, Restaurant, Function space
Vibes: Traditional, Lively, Happening

Judging by its exterior contrasted against its neighbouring restaurants, one can immediately tell that Ke Zhan stands out from the rest. Apart from the faux blossom trees surrounding the cosy wooden chairs, popular Mandopop songs are blared from its speakers, livening up the still-quiet 6PM atmosphere. While there is no shortage of restaurants in the Suntec City area, Ke Zhan is one of the rare Chinese eateries you can find. Only recently opened late last year, this is the sixth outlet imagined by the BLVD Group, an established company seeking to create the perfect venue for executives to relax in an urban environment.

In deciding what restaurant to patronise, a question I like to ask is, “What makes this restaurant different from the many others out there serving similar cuisines?” This question is easily answered in Ke Zhan. The idea of a food bar (a casual restaurant with an added bar near the entrance) is a relatively new but growing concept in Singapore, and BLVD is one of the first to combine this with an authentic Chinese cuisine. This is one of the few Chinese restaurants that tastefully complement the traditional with the modern by having a bar, which relaxes the atmosphere and is conducive for unwinding after a long day.

Ke Zhan – Interior space. Credit Ke Zhan, BLVD PTE LTD.

When you walk into the restaurant, you are immediately transported back to the ancient times in China where people gather over wooden tables and heartily order wine in a bustling inn. No wonder the restaurant website touts the design a “rustic inn”. More faux trees, but this time with autumn leaves, greet you in the interior of the restaurant, alongside furniture specially imported from (where else?) China. One unique feature about the sound system, apart from boasting a variety of both old and modern Mandopop favourites, is that the bar actually has a full karaoke set for people to dedicate songs to each other. It’s like karaoke, but with great food and no microphones, so disturbances to others will be minimised as you sing along to your favourite songs at your table. This would be ideal for birthday celebrations when you spring a surprise on your friend by dedicating him/her a song.

What is a great restaurant without great food? The cuisines Ke Zhan offers are inspired by the Sichuan and Guangdong palette, including everybody’s favourite dimsum. The menu is impressive, and here are some highlights first-timers have to try, as recommended by both satisfied customers and the management:

  • Specialties: Poached fish in Mala broth
  • Cold dish: Garlic pork belly, Beggar’s chicken
  • Rice & noodles: Beef fillet with preserved olive rice (very fragrant!)

If you are looking for a light snack, customers have voiced their approval of the ‘grill’ section. And to complement the food, Ke Zhan carries a wide range of chinese wines (Bai Jiu, Mou Tai, Hsao Hsing), including Sake and Sochu to cater to different people’s taste buds.

With the summer season approaching, be sure to check this restaurant out, located conveniently in the heart of the city. Seating about 50 to 60 people indoors, one can also book it for private events, where a buffet line will be specially catered. Event packages are also available upon inquiry.

I love good food and good venues as much as the next guy

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