This new restaurant-bar owned by actor Zhang Yaodong and three other business partners exudes an industrial chic vibe with its concrete walls, wooden tables and cage-like pendant lights. White loudhailers hang from metal rigging in the corners of the 80-seat space in a nod to Communist Vietnam, where in the past public announcements were made via street megaphones (two of the owners are Vietnamese).
At the bar, two majestic Qilin statues stand guard on each end, while huge Chinese coin plaques line the wall behind it. Yaodong explains that the statues are auspicious symbols and that they fit in with the Asian theme of the restaurant. But we think they look more like accidental gatecrashers in the modern space.
Menu-wise, the dining room serves hearty one-dish meals such as Beef & Foie Gras Fried Rice ($22) and Charcoal Pork Iberico Collar Ramen ($15) during lunch, and sizeable sharing plates during dinner. If you want to spot some stars, this is the place to be: since its opening, celebs such as Fiona Xie, Zheng Geping, Hong Huifang, and former actors like Thomas Ong, Michelle Chia and Chen Xiuhuan have visited.
Above, our top three picks to try at Maru.