Grains & Hops

The hype: Aside from being the resident bar and restaurant at Orchard Road’s newest hotel, Grains & Hops is the latest joint offering healthy trend food—specifically, skewers and grain bowls. The name is a reference to the restaurant’s main food and beverage offerings, which are attractively plated and affordably priced.

The vibe: Located a little off the main shopping belt, Yotel Singapore can be a little tricky to find at first. Take a shortcut through the International Building and up to Level 2, where the lift doors will open to Yotel’s lobby. Grains & Hops sits on Level 10 (or “TEN”), and is open to public diners.

The navigation pays off once you reach the restaurant. Designed as the common area, co-working space and restaurant all rolled into one, the space is roomy and airy with a colorful, modern aesthetic. Floor-to-ceiling windows give you a view of the lap pool outside; come evening, the lights are dimmed to provide a more relaxing environment for winding down with a beer. It’s comfortable, casual and non-imposing—everything a young, hip hotel should be.

The food: True to its name, Grains & Hops’ signature dish is one-dish rice bowls featuring your skewer of choice. With nine varieties on offer, there’s plenty to choose from; but go for the Roasted Angus Beef ($22) or Grilled Angus Beef ($23) if you like your juicy cuts. The Roasted Kurobuta Pork Collar bowl ($18) and Grilled Chicken ($16) are also safe favorites; but if you’re staving off meat, order the Grilled miso Salmon Fish ($20) or the vegetarian option ($14), which comes with grilled button mushrooms, zucchini and tomato polenta skewers.

You’ll notice the type of grains that come with each bowl differ—from multigrain rice to garlic quinoa, selected to complement each meat. For the best of many, many worlds, we’d recommend building your own sharing platters. The platters come at three price points ($55, $73, $90) that allow you to select six to 10 skewers, dips, and one serving of grain per diner; perfect for feasting with friends. If you like your rice with a little more body to it, the purple sticky rice and multigrain rice are must-tries.

The menu is succinct in its offerings, but aside from the bowls, the Marmite Chicken Pops ($12) make an addictive side. As for dessert, go for the Peach & Berries Popsicle ($8)—which might sound strange, but is in fact a not-too-sweet concoction of vanilla ice cream, real berries, and actual rice bits. It fits with the whole skewer theme too.

The drinks: Putting the “hops” in Grains & Hops is a decently priced selection of craft and international brews; nothing hits above $18. Pick up a crisp lager from Australia or a wheat beer from Japan—but if you’re already there, you have to try the house beer Grains & Hops Brew ($13 for a pint, $7 for a 1/2 pint). Available straight from the tap, the pale ale is freshly brewed by local beer guys Red Dot Brewery, and infused with a tinge of local jasmine green tea. The result is a refreshing, crisp drink with citrus undertones that’s easy to drink from day till night.

Otherwise, the substantial beverage menu ranging from wines to cocktails, spirits to juices, and even milkshakes, should do the trick. We especially like the lattes ($5) served here, ground from Bon Cafe beans.

Why you’ll be back: The concept of a hotel restaurant specializing in something as casual as grain bowls is refreshing—there’s no commitment to a grand or heavy meal, and the price point is attractive for its location on Orchard Road. Plus, the meals are as tasty and filling as they are healthy; enough so to convert a former grain-bowl skeptic to mark Grains & Hops as a future go-to in town.