Stroll along Circular Road and you’ll come face to face with an entire stretch of coffeeshops, all serving good grub at reasonable prices. But one of them fronts a sign that reads Dragon Chamber, splashed with an image of a dragon, and that’s where your enigmatic escapades begin.
Previously hidden within Lokkee at Plaza Singapura, The Dragon Chamber has found new life in its secret space tucked away behind a glass fridge at an unassuming kopitiam in Clarke Quay. Self-described as a “secret society” restaurant and bar, the speakeasy-style concept has been revamped as part of a new collaboration between Ebb and Flow Group and Tung Lok Group.
It’s a Chinese restaurant, sure. But it’s unlike most other modern ones — besides its Narnia-like entrance, it serves unusual delicacies in a darkened den that makes you feel like you’ve left the sunny streets of Singapore and stepped into a glamorous underworld. With walls decked out in works by local and regional artists like Sabotage, Mister Tucks, and Riandy Karuniawan, making reference to Chinese heritage, the place is gritty but not seedy, traditional but not tacky.
Opened just yesterday, The Dragon Chamber houses a kopitiam serving local classics such as wanton mee and toast, a bar that opens till late, a 45-seater restaurant, a private dining area, and a VVIP room for up to 12 guests.
Served for communal dining, the menu’s highlights include Dragon Mountain ($88-$138), a plate piled high with fried whole lobster tossed with crisp garlic, fermented soybeans, chillis, and Sichuan peppercorns; Wagyu Truffle Beef Hor Fun ($68), an upgrade on the classic hawker item with A4 Kagoshima wagyu and a poached egg; and the Firecracker Chicken and Maple Fritters ($16-$28) of fried bird mixed with cashews, chives, and spice, offered with you tiao (fried dough) fritters and maple syrup on the side.
Plus, there’s fried durian ($12) for dessert, just in case the King of Fruits on its own wasn’t “heaty” enough for you.
But if you’re here for something more unconventional, try the Roasted Pig Tail ($28), where the meat comes with a fish sauce blend and lettuce wraps. Otherwise, there’s the magnificently-named Dragon Claw ($45), essentially a gelatinous crocodile foot, brought in from a local farm and served with braised herbal sauce on a bed of kale.
For a extra collagen, the more brave-hearted among us can order the D*** Soup ($30), a chicken- and -pork based double-boiled broth simmering with chunks of chicken feet and crocodile penis. It’s, er, certainly not for everyone, but if you want exotic, you’ve got it.
At the bar, classic cocktails have been given an Asian makeover, using ingredients familiar to us, such as gula melaka and five spice powder. To start on the booze cruise, we’d recommend you go Crazy for Coconuts ($22). We may be a tad biased towards its name, but the concoction of Irish whisky and coconut cold brew coffee made the traditional hawker way will speak for itself. Other drinks to try include the Mojito Twist ($16) with added five spice syrup or Tea Time and Soda ($18) of vodka-infused teh with honey and lime juice.
The Dragon Chamber is at 2 Circular Rd.
Kopitiam: 10am-11pm; Bar & Restaurant: noon-2:30pm, 5pm-midnight.
MRT: Clarke Quay/Raffles Place