Názt Bistro Lounge

If you walked by this nondescript spot on Club Street, set amid a sea of crowded, boisterous bars and restaurants, you might be inclined to keep right on walking, and that would be a mistake. We almost skipped over it ourselves, although we must admit we did a double take when our aged eyes mistook Nazt for something else entirely (no points for guessing what). Occupying two shophouses side by side, we opted for a table by the window, all the better to indulge in some people watching and got right down to business. Chef Alvin’s special salad ($10) to start, a fairly unusual green apple spaghetti with melon soup, dried cranberries and cranberry compote. While delicious, it was a tad too sweet for our taste, and we were glad we added a portion of Parma ham ($4), which lent a savory element and provided a much welcome contrast flavor-wise. That was followed by Yorkshire pork & belly ($28), a well-executed duo of grilled pork loin accompanied by pork belly, finished with aged balsamic. We have a weakness for all things porcine, and the crunch of the crackling was particularly satisfying. The potato lyonnaise and roasted vegetables helped round out the dish, but we’d be lying if we said they weren’t neglected in favor of the succulent pork belly. The real surprise of the evening was an unassuming grilled prawn pasta ($22) that really won us over. A simple yet moreish combination of grilled tiger prawns with perfectly al dente linguine tossed in a spicy prawn-scented butter sauce and topped with bonito flakes proved highly addictive; we had to be coaxed into sharing. Service is unintrusive, perhaps a little too much so, but informed and helpful at least. With some stiff competition in the area, and new establishments popping up like mushrooms, we sincerely hope that Nazt will survive another couple of years. A charming gem this (perfect for a first date), and easy on the wallet to boot.

Have you tried the grilled prawn pasta? It’s one of I-S Magazine’s 50 things to eat in Singapore before you die (2011).