With so many new and exciting food and beverage establishments opening in Singapore, it pays to keep your finger on the pulse. Missing a goodie can be easy and Pael.et, the latest addition to Chinatown’s Keong Saik Road, is not one to miss.
First, let’s get the tricky pronunciation sorted. “Pael.et, pronounced ‘pallet’, is the phonetic spelling of pallet, palate, and palette,” the team tell us. “We combine these at Pael.et by blending global elements of taste, art and design together, but the focus is always on good times.”
With that out the way, Pael.et is a true gem of a den. The intrigue begins before you step inside the venue. We arrive in the 5pm daylight and heavy drapes at the doorway conceal what’s inside. You’re soon transported into a small but perfectly formed room, sultry in surroundings, hip but homely in style, and super-cool in character.
Learning that Pael.et is owned and operated by a raft of familiar names from Singapore’s F&B industry, it all starts to make sense. Partner Joe Haywood, SJS Group, the Papi’s Tacos team, and a front-of-house team led by Russel Cardoza, of Employees Only and Skinny’s Lounge fame, have each come together here.
The warm and sunny staff take us through the cocktail menu with a particular fervour. It’s immediately clear that Haywood has curated a banger, creating drinks to harmonise flavours, highlight abstract ingredients, and encapsulate unique tastes. Numbers like The Seoul Searcher ($24), offer a Korean twist on the classic margarita, featuring Codigo Blanco Tequila, gochujang agave, and “Orange” orange wine. Istumi Martini ($21), incorporates the essence of pasta water from the SJS Group’s Pasta Bar, Nikka Coffey Gin, Beefeater gin, kombu, and spirulina. Given my sweet tooth and penchant for creamy concoctions, my recommendation is Speech Impediments, featuring Evan Williams Bourbon, peach, white tea, lemon, egg white, and bitters.
Complementing the cocktails is a food menu crafted by Head Chef Ash, formerly of Burnt Ends. We tried the Classic Sourdough with black garlic, and the refreshing Scallop Ceviche, complete with dashi, mango, pink peppercorn and samphire. For our main course we had the Half Chicken, seasoned with agave, rocket, papaya and peanut. Other options include Rendang Beef with corn tortillas, and Bread Gnocci with lemon and asparagus, followed by desserts such as Rambutan and Beetroot Sorbet with salted white chocolate foam, and Peach Tart. “Growing up I was enamoured by the food and flavours of other cultures, so it makes sense to have a place where the exploration is complemented with feeling at home,” Haywood says.
Aside from the F&B, Pael.et also comes with great music and art; every corner tells a story of the local community through handcrafted pieces and artists’ collaborations. Rush, a talented music artist, has devised some eclectic playlists alongside an Atlanta-based music producer to create the vibrant feel of the place.
Our favourite part of all? The absolutely lovely vibe. The intimate size means that Pael.et fills up fast, with punters perched at the bar watching the drinks come to life, and groups huddled at tables, caught up with fast chat and fabulous flavours.
Just remember to call it “pallet”. It’s essential to get this right when spreading the word about just how good it is.
VERDICT: Pael.et is where artistry in food, drink, and music collide in a happy space where you feel like family. Everyone is welcome, and the later the night lingers, the more this spot lights up.