4 Jiak Chuan Road
6221 8262 | marikos.com.sg
Fans of Bartini and the nearby Retrospective – part of the same F&B group – will already have this Japanese restaurant and bar in the bustling former red light district off Keong Saik Road on their radar.
There’s a nod to the neighbourhood’s salubrious past in the quirky naming of the bar. Mariko is a 1950s manga lady of the night whose clientele were American GIs in post-war Japan. An original sketch of Mariko, a gift from the artist Yoshihiro Tatsumi, hangs in the otherwise minimalist bar. At the back of the restored shophouse, there’s more of a relaxed vibe with a warm, woody interior that encourages conspiring over cocktails or cold sake.
We recommend the signature drink, Shochu Sour ($18) – a pretty pink, refreshing blend of Shochu, Choya, cranberry, lemon and pineapple juices, grapefruit bitters and a dash of egg white foam.
Food-wise, there’s the usual yakitori and tempura, but the main offering is ramen – chewy, slurpy noodles served up in a mammoth bowl with a choice of flavoursome stocks and garnished with various extras including Japanese Wagyu beef ($25) and homemade char siew ($16). Pop in for lunch (Ramen set lunches start at $18), or if you’re in search a drinking den, go later in the night. It’s open till 1am Monday to Saturday.
Over the weekend, expect a melange of Japanese and Western house, tech and funk from a list of DJs that includes Off The Boat, Karate Sandwich, Stephen Day, Seng Wei and DJ Nomsta.