Coriander Leaf (Chijmes)

The buzz: After a short hiatus following the Clarke Quay closure, this mini institution is back in a sexier space that dishes out on-trend small plates with a mix of Indian and Southeast Asian flavors.

The vibe: The dim but buzzing space is flanked with murals of geishas and Bengal tigers in addition to the dark wooden screens above the action-packed open kitchen. The plush seats also add to the allure of the otherwise cavernous space tucked away on the second floor of Chijmes. 

The food: Moving away from the predominantly Indian-influenced dishes found at the old Clarke Quay restaurant, this one’s all about small sharing plates with more emphasis on Southeast Asian flavors. The menu is divided into five categories: fresh, familiar, spicy, umami and sweet. Plates include the refreshing roast duck rice noodle salad ($12) with crunchy mint and coriander leaves; a grilled eggplant “lasagne” ($12) and an open bao stuffed with braised beef brisket and kimchi ($14). Don’t miss the toothsome soft shell crab with salted duck egg yolk ($16) and the Nepalese chicken momo dumplings ($10) that come bursting with a peppery dipping sauce. While the oven-roasted kecap manis beef ($35) is perfectly seasoned, we found the beef a bit sinewy on our last visit. Same with the spicy wok-fried prawns ($25): great, deep flavors but a bit of a sandy texture.

The drinks: An extensive list of predominantly Asian alcohol—sake, umeshu and whiskey—on top of a varied wine list.

Why you’ll be back: It’s a sexy space pushing out sexy small plates that’s finally not Spanish/Italian/modern European.