Run by the folks behind Neon Pigeon, this Tanjong Pagar bar and restaurant offers kebabs, hummus, falafel, and drinks from Turkey, Morocco, Lebanon and more
The Dandy Partnership fancies taking you places with their establishments – while the hip and trendy Neon Pigeon at Keong Saik continues to dazzle diners with its outlandish take on Japanese izakaya fare, Fat Prince is another immersive locale that switches up the Rising Sun for the Middle East. Sure enough, the influences you’ll find here stem from Istanbul and Marrakesh, to Beirut and Amman – all congregating together in one place within the fringes of Singapore’s CBD at Tanjong Pagar. Fit for an opulent sultan, yet chilled-out enough to attract post-work yuccies looking for affordable swigs, Fat Prince treats all its patrons like royalty, and we were treated no less.
More of a bar with substantial snacks than a full-fledged restaurant – that’s where its more food-centric extension, The Ottoman Room, comes in when it opens later this month – Fat Prince appealed to us, first and foremost, with its bevvie offerings. This dim yet delightfully clamorous waterhole attempts to replicate the buzzy, “hipster-like” neighbourhood of Karakoy in Istanbul, so drinking ’til you’re rosy-cheeked comes naturally here.
As such, you can find both Old and New World wines here, alongside elusive craft beers from breweries in Lebanon and Morocco. If you’re not tempted by boozy tipples, however, Fat Prince also takes pride in its house-made sodas, like the orange & cardamom and Turkish tea & ginger (both at $8 each); but because we obviously don’t fall in that camp, we couldn’t resist spiking our soda with some whisky for good measure (tipsy top-ups of any choice are available for an extra $8). Floral, fragrant and fizzy, these refreshing concoctions gave us a good kick, even without the extra woozy fix.
Another non-alcoholic stand-out that’s worth a try – and still just as potent – is Fat Prince’s traditional Turkish coffee ($6). Our recommendation? Plonk yourself down by the white marble-coated bar, that intimately seats six, and order your coffee straight from the counter; built into the bar is a sand pit maintained at sizzling temperatures, and this is where your brew will be prepared using silver cezves (Turkish coffee pots), as the thick, dark and aromatic coffee is brought to a boil while huddled by the hot sand. We took this moment of waiting to truly admire the décor of this place – walnut-hued, wooden tables, dangling orb chandeliers, beaded walls with smeared daffodil paint, and a warm vibe that’ll make you wanna catch up with your mates for hours. As for our coffee? It kept us up all night.
Getting peckish while drinking is a given, and Fat Prince boasts a menu that – unless you’re a big solo eater – is perfect for sharing. Starters from the Mezze selection go at $12 each, and we strongly vouch for the okra falafel; if you like meatballs, this Turkish variation is a firm, spiced starter that’s stirred together with house-made bacon, shaved Mihalic cheese, and fennel mustard. Dense, wholesome, and savourily satisfying. Vegetarians can opt for the equally-rich fried cauliflower; its crunch contrasted against a soft, thick mixture of white bean puree, sun-dried olives and green chilli hot sauce. And what’s a Middle Eastern feast without hummus? Accompanied with crispy pita bread are addictively divine dips like the Fat Prince Hummus (given an extra hint of decadence with added duck fat) and the truffled baba ghanouj (truffle… need we say more?).
Another delicacy you won’t find missing from most Middle Eastern restaurants is the kebab, and Fat Prince whips up a moreish rendition that won us over from our first bite. Fresh from the grill at two for $16, these meats are wrapped in hot, fluffy pita buns and slathered in gravy that will inevitably drip all over your hands – think Turkish tacos, or for the food trend-focused, Fat Prince’s take on bao sandwiches. You can choose to stuff these bad boys with Baharat honey chicken or sweet chilli and oregano lamb kofte, but if there’s one that stood out for us, it was the spicy Adalar prawn – chewy, charred chunks with an almost-milky, buttery taste. Dare to try something different? The smoked Kasar cheese is both a sweet and savoury treat, with the saltiness of the firm cheese mixed with the subtle, saccharine flavours of pomegranate vinaigrette and candied almonds and cashews.
Though understandably perceived as bar bites when ordered individually, these dishes are – take it from us – essentially a full meal when wolfed down together, and it’ll be more than enough to bring on that food coma. As for Chef Hunter Moyes’ full food offerings, we’ll just have to wait ’til the upper-tier Ottoman Room opens up – yes, we’ll keep you posted on that. But in the meantime, Fat Prince looks all set to be your go-to spot for guzzling and munching, with an exotic Middle Eastern edge that straddles the line between being authentic and adventurous. Toss any presumptions of snobbish regality out the door; Fat Prince is open to all.
Fat Prince, 48 Peck Seah Street, Singapore 079317, p. 8221 3683. Open Tue-Fri 8am-12am, Sat 10.30am-12am (brunch only), Sun 10.30am-3pm (brunch only).