If you’ve strolled past the bustling Boon Tat Street in Telok Ayer during dinnertime, you might have seen a good deal of corporate workers with their shirtsleeves rolled up as they dig into massive platters of grilled meat. You then look up at the name on the signboard, FYR, and it takes all of eight seconds to realise that it is pronounced as “fire”.
FYR opened two years ago, when paleo caveman diets were all the rage; its large Josper charcoal oven fanned with the aromatic flames of all things rustic and hearty. When you wanted fiery carnal dishes without a care for niceties and glamour, you came here. But in recent months, the restaurant’s new look and direction have taken it to the modern age, shedding (at least in part) its quirky caveman vibes for something newer.
On the premise that today’s global trend of sharing plates is the way to go, FYR now sees a cosy interior that is more conducive to casual group gatherings. Gone are the adorable wall murals that depict man’s discovery of fire, and in their place a blazing orange ‘sun’ with contemporary stylings. Still, the restaurant retains its signature of cooking with fire in all its forms – grilling, barbequing, roasting, searing, and smoking. You could say culinary director Micail Chepi knows how to embrace the power of fire, having grown up in West Java, which is home to some of the world’s most active volcanoes.
You’ll find his repertoire – modern Modern European dishes with an Asian take – to be spiked with hints of spices and herbs from his homeland. He does a delicate Pan-seared Foie Gras dish that sits on a bed of small spring onion crêpe (think Taiwanese pancakes) and spectacular lemongrass peanut sauce alongside diced Spanish onions and mango jelly in a trinity of sweet, spicy, and savory. Try the Freshwater Prawns that are grilled on the Josper for a delicious charred crunch and lightly dusted with zingy lemon powder. A squeeze of ruddy saffron rouille and prawn jus adds a burst of spicy richness. When you’re done with the meat, grab the head and suck for a hit of umami.
His Wagyu Striploin is a handsome dish decked out with asparagus and oyster vinaigrette. Grilled a beautiful medium rare (would we want to eat wagyu any other way?), the spread of sweet pumpkin puree and date sauce works brilliantly with the beef. There are plenty more meats to come. The Iberico Pork Secreto, a highly-prized cut from the shoulder, comes thick and fantastically tender, with a mild nutty flavour that the pigs are known for. Micail serves this with roasted rum-infused pineapple, a callback to his roots.
Can you leave without ordering the Scallop, Prawn and Chorizo Rice? Yes, but you shouldn’t. This paella of sorts is filled with a juicy mix of fresh scallops, prawns, chorizo, prawn broth, garlic aioli, bonito flakes, and of course, a blanket of crunchy rice crust at the bottom. And it is very tasty. When you’re ready for dessert, get the Black Sticky Rice, an artsy reconstruction of the Indonesian pulut hitam. The glutinous rice, cooked with a bit of sugar, is molded into a circle and tastefully plated with mildly sweet coconut ice cream and served with grapes and crunchy sesame tuile, making for an indulgent finish that’s familiar yet new – in much the same way that FYR has become.
We’re going to miss the rusticness of the old FYR, but it’s a welcome and tad more exciting change that is more relevant to the taste buds of today.
FYR is located at 19 Boon Tat St, Singapore 069619, p. +65 6221 3703. Open Mon-Thu 11.30am – 11pm, Fri 11.30am – 12am, Sat 5.30pm – 11pm. Closed Sun.