Treat yourself to a well-deserved barbecue feast accompanied by the sea breeze. By SAMANTHA FRANCIS.
Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, once a bustling gateway to Bintan’s cheap massages, sumptuous seafood, and water sports, is now a dead mall void of activity. But at the back of the building, a brand-new seafood BBQ joint has been drawing crowds for its affordably priced barbecue experience.
When I dropped by at 6:30 pm on a Saturday, Offshore Bar & Grill was backdropped by the glowing sunset and looked alluring, even though the set-up was a simple affair of fairy lights, grass carpeting, and tables facing the sea. On the upper deck, rows of fresh seafood in a tank, alongside marinated meats, and cooked food items were displayed buffet-style. Our table was on the bottom deck, which meant we’d enjoy the sea breeze and endless views of the Singapore Straits, albeit behind a green fence, as we tucked into dinner.
Inspired by the kelong (offshore platform used for fishing) dining experience, the restaurant prides itself on freshly cooked seafood and affordable beers. The laidback ambience is a bonus—not only is the place pet-friendly but there’s also no dress code. A quick glance showed cyclists with their foldable bikes in tow, as well as diners looking relaxed in shorts and slippers.
We had the Happy Feast, a S$69++ buffet package that includes a portion of half lobster, aside from unlimited servings of fresh seafood, fresh meat, cooked foods, and sauces. Diners can choose to enjoy these either shabu shabu style or on a smoky charcoal grill. We went for the latter, along with a Super Happy add-on for S$49++—a live seafood platter that was good for two to share.
The highlight had to be the seafood platter, which came with generous portions of live seafood straight from the tank, including a Southern Australia rock lobster, fresh clams, baby local lobsters, as well as a whole barramundi. The rock lobster was naturally sweet and meaty, while the barramundi, after 20 minutes on the grill, yielded soft and buttery flesh that paired well with the in-house sambal chilli.
From the buffet, we liked the BBQ pork ribs, which were tender and well-seasoned. The other cooked foods such as prata and beef rendang, on the other hand, were a little lacklustre. We recommend sticking to the seafood items—from fresh oysters to bamboo clams, which wowed us with their freshness and variety. For desserts, there’s ice cream in cups and fresh-cut fruits. Diners who fancy unlimited booze can opt for free-flow alcohol at a top-up of S$29++ per person. Options include beers on tap, spirits, and house wine.
Overall, the al fresco dining experience was a pleasant one and we left dreaming of our next Bintan getaway.
More information here.