The restaurant in Telok Ayer takes you on a gastronomic journey through the Silk Road

How do you stand out in Singapore's competitive dining scene? For co-founders Olzhas Zhiyenkulov and Shawn Kishore, it was to offer a unique cuisine that would pique the interest of gourmands. That was the seed that started The Nomads, the first restaurant in the country that offers the signature dishes of countries found along the Silk Road. Here's why you should check it out. 

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1. First Mover

The Nomads is Singapore’s first full‑fledged restaurant focusing on the diverse Central Asian cuisine found along the Silk Road, stretching from western China to southern Italy. Kazakh native Olzhas Zhiyenkulov, who co-founded the restaurant with F&B group Five Ten Holdings’ managing director Shawn Kishore, explains that their inspiration stemmed from the desire to share the “under-discovered culture, cuisine and untold stories of the nomads of the Eurasian steppe with the rest of the world”.

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2. Man in charge

Helming the kitchen is executive chef Dannel Krishnan, who has earned his stripes at Michelin-starred restaurants including Saint Pierre and Sushi Kimura. Before they introduced a unique Singaporean perspective to Central Asian fare, Krishnan and Kishore first travelled through the region to fully immerse themselves in its rich culinary heritage and flavour profiles. Their discoveries in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have inspired most of the restaurant’s dishes but Krishnan points out that they have also included “flavours from western China, spices from the Caucasus, ideas from Russia, and techniques from the Mediterranean”.

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3. Greatest Hits

Krishnan came up with his own versions of Kazakh and Uzbek favourites such as the lamb samsa. Typically served as a baked pastry filled with meat, he uses the premium Mottainai variety, also known as the “Wagyu of lamb”, due to its clean and light flavours. It is prepared tartare style and stuffed into mini cones coated with coffee sugar to enhance the meat’s taste. Also from Kazakhstan is the salat, a delectable ensemble of juicy pears, seasonal greens and crystallised walnuts, topped with frozen raspberries and finished with a sprinkle of anchovy sauce.

4. Drinks for Keeps

Located at the entrance of The  Nomads is sister establishment, Bee’s Island Drinkery, which serves innovative tipples curated by beverage manager Jonathan Emmanuel to complement the restaurant’s extensive spread. On the cocktail pairings, Emmanuel explains, “We start with a light and floral martini and progressively move to more delicate flavours like yuzu, ginger and melon for seafood dishes and desserts.” In-house concoctions such as rum infused with hay or smoked bitters pair well with red meats.

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5. Perfect Foil

The Nomads tells the story of a nomadic journey across an ancient food trail and this is reflected in its interior design. The main dining area features a counter table outfitted in natural elements like stone and greenery. It is anchored by a custom-built grill pit that captures the essence of campfire dining. Specially sourced items, including an oriental chessboard and porcelain pieces, add a historic touch to the overall ambience.

The Nomads | 01-01, 70 Telok Ayer Street, S(048462) | 6977 7057 |

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