The hype: Established by Shawn Kishore of Five Ten Holdings (The Salted Plum and previously Pasta Supremo) as well as Kazakhstan native Olzhas Zhiyenkulov, The Nomads is a contemporary Central Asian dining concept that takes diners through the Silk Road’s gastronomic trail. It punches above its weight by not only making this unique cuisine more accessible here, but also keeping it easy on the local palate.
The vibe: Hidden behind tropical cocktail spot Bee’s Island Drinkery, The Nomads sees a bar-style dining area (plus a separate speakeasy-style space for private dining) which gives guests the opportunity to catch the chefs in action. Upon arrival, pick a drinking vessel off the shelves by the entrance and settle in. All meals start with a toast, before the experience unfolds.
The food: With menus crafted around the kitchen’s custom-built grill pit, choose to either dine ala carte or via three tasting menus (by reservations only), namely the 11-course A Trail Ablaze ($98), 17-course Odyssey of Fire ($148), or the aptly-named Nirvana omakase ($188). To enjoy the signature dishes, choose between the former two; or for seasonal specials and dishes crafted to your preferences and desires, try the latter.
In any case, there are a couple of must-try dishes that lie on both the ala carte and tasting menus. The Squid Laghman ($20) features charcoal-kissed squid noodles which are flavoured with smoked szechuan and paprika sauces, then topped with diced capsicums and pine nuts for added crunch.
And don’t underestimate the Nomads Nan ($18); it comes with the Hunter-gatherer’s Butter that features both a savoury nori butter and a seasonal animal fat butter. Spread these on the traditional Kazakhstan-style bread and it’s beyond clear that this one’s a winner.
But don’t miss out on the Beshbarmak ($34) too. Inspired by the Kyrgyzstan national dish, The Nomads fine tunes the hearty meal by making it more suitable and easier on the local palate. So what you get is a wagyu beef cheek, accompanied with crispy potato sheets, and held in a bowl that’s to be doused with a bak kut teh-like broth.
The drinks: There’s a recommended beverage pairing (from $58) for each tasting menu, curated thoughtfully with cocktails that not only taste good but are inspired by the bar out front, as well as the dishes. If you fancy yourself a sommelier of sorts, feel free to pick out wines from their rather substantial list.
Why you’ll be back: The Nomads offers an interesting dining experience that doesn’t feel ostentatious and out-of-touch, which we like. Plus, the Nomads Nan is a dish we’ll return to devour time and again.