Tucked away in a corner of King George's Avenue near an industrial area Lavender and Jalan Besar is The Refinery. Perhaps the space it sits in used to be a refinery of sorts, but we know for sure it is definitely a refined experience to dine here.
Food here is largely Japanese-based with a hint of western influence, though its cocktails are definitely not Asian-inspired.
The Refinery is popular among both the lunch and dinner crowd with dinner attracting more happy hour hunters than the rushed working adults of the lunchtime madness. It's not hard to see why they have such a pull - the food is superb.
We tried 4 great appetisers that are in my must-try list. The seaweed truffle fries ($13) is a good starter to kickoff the meal. A Japanese twist on the typical truffle fries, the seaweed powder gives the dish an overall lift.
The Brussels sprouts ($12) is one of the recommended dishes on the menu. We were pleasantly surprised at how tasty it was and couldn't help enjoying every mouthful with absolute relish.
If you can put salted egg sauce in prata or toast (uh-huh), then why not have it drizzled all over freshly cut and fried onion rings ($13)? This is one of the best salted egg dishes I've ever tried and it is served it a cute little Chinese take out box.
They also serve quail eggs ($4), onsen style, with really fresh roe and seaweed garnish, swimming in a pool of miso broth. The quails eggs were perfectly cooked and went incredibly well with the miso broth.
The heavier dishes range from pastas to rice bowls to yakitori skewers. But we went with the suggestions of our server and tried their signature Refinery bowl ($9 - which was a little sweet), an unagi don ($10 - perfectly cooked and seasoned) as well as a beef Gyuniku donburi ($12 - a two thumbs up dish both rated by the restaurant as well as us!).
The skewers are not new to the restaurant but their skewers + is the latest addition to their already extensive spread and we would recommend trying at least one of each. We tried the bak kwa and asparagus ($4), the kiri mochi rice cake ($6), the lambagu ($8), the Iberico pork collar ($8), the foie gras beef-noki ($9) and double roe tiger prawn ($12).
Cocktails here are also well-mixed and go for $10+ during happy hours! We tried the cookie martini, which tasted very familiar - quite like a spiked milo.
They also have lovely elderflower martinis that are gentle on the palate and are definitely a ladies' favourite.
But if you're into a more acidic drink, the only Japanese inspired cocktail on the menu should be able to satiate you in that department. The yuzu mojito is made with the typical ingredients you would find in a mojito except with a yuzu base.
The Refinery 115 King George's Avenue #01-02, 208561 Open: Tues - Fri 12PM-3PM; 6PM-12AM Sat: 11AM-4PM; 6PM-1AM Sun: 11AM-4PM Closed on Mondays