The hype: From the people behind Meta and Kimme comes another sophisticated concept, this time specialising in modern, creative interpretations of Indian flavours from the Malay Peninsula. Think European-style sharing plates with familiar Southeast Asian influences—an overall outstanding display of what Indian food can be.
The vibe: With Meta just a few doors down, Thevar sits comfortably along vibrant Keong Saik Street among other formidable F&B establishments. It’s a narrow space that’s divided cleanly into bar seating at the open kitchen or high tables; the dim lighting keeps things cosy for an elegant but casual meal after work.
The food: It’s Indian food like you’ve never tasted it before. Penang-born Chef Manogren Murugan Thevar draws from his Malaysian Indian heritage and former stints at Meat Smith and Waku Ghin, to deliver truly innovative dishes with a heavy dose of nostalgia.
Start with sharing plates like the addictive Spiced Potato Chips ($10) seasoned wonderfully with house blend spices and curry leaves; and the Pork Cheek ($14) that melts instantly in your mouth—a fatty, crispy pork jowl slow-cooked for three hours, wrapped in a betel leaf, and brought to life by the smoky coco-sambal aeoli. You’ll soon realise Chef Mano’s calling card lies in his sauces—each wildly different from the last, but all rich, creamy, and packed with the flavour intensity characteristic of Indian dips. Because of his expertise in grilling and smoking, every meat dish is juicy and well-executed, like the Pork Ribs ($28) brushed with a medjool glaze and blend of homemade spices.
Surprisingly, Thevar delivers on its seafood too. Get the restaurant group’s signature Oysters ($5/$28), here treated with an Indian twist from the icy rasam granita on top. The generously portioned Grilled Octopus ($36) boasts a perfect bite, and is made only better by the creamy spiced yellow dal puree and homemade tomato chutney that will have you licking the plate clean. If you need carbs to go with your meal, the Berry Pulao-Cucumber Raita ($10) serves up fragrant briyani with refreshing cucumber raita.
An unforgettable Butter Mushroom Naan ($16) completely reinvents the supper classic—the butter chicken curry paste comes with generous amounts of enoki and oyster mushroom potatoes; fill these into the accompanying naan for a completely vegetarian, taco-style take that still does justice to the butter chicken taste.
The drinks: To pair with the slick menu, Thevar’s bar at the entrance has conceptualised a concise list of Asian-inspired cocktails. Get cheeky drinks like the Banana Old Fashion, a bourbon-based tipple with dried banana and dates, or the gin-based Ginger Desire; though the classic G&T here doesn’t disappoint either. A substantial wine list spanning French reds to Italian whites is available too.
Why you’ll be back: It’s been a hot minute since an Indian-focused restaurant caught our eye, and the refinery in every plate, down to the decadent condiments, speaks to the level of attention paid at Thevar. For a wildly satisfying meal on Keong Saik that isn’t international cuisine for once, head here.