SINGAPORE (Oct 8): Eighteen years ago, as university students in Australia, Melvin Yeo and Elaine Lim (main image, right) had an unforgettable experience at Claypots St Kilda. The seafood bar, founded by Turkish-born Australian Renan Goksin, was the first of what is today a popular restaurant chain Down Under. Now, Yeo and Lim are attempting to recreate that experience in the central business district of Singapore.

Claypots Full Circle is a Mediterranean-Asian seafood restaurant and bar on Amoy Street. The restaurant gets its name from the fact that Goksin was actually inspired by his food experiences in Southeast Asia — including in Singapore — to set up Claypots St Kilda. Lim and Yeo collaborated with Goksin on the concept, which features original Claypots dishes such as Shellfish Stir-Fry (market price) and Moroccan Claypot ($26) but also has some Singapore exclusives such as Okra Tossed with Dried Shrimp ($7) and Cheese Saganaki ($15).

Like Claypots St Kilda, Claypots Full Circle has a cosy ambience to it. The restaurant sports warm, yellow lighting, mismatched chairs and a mix of seating arrangements. Where the two restaurants differ is in the taste profile. Claypots Full Circle has a distinctly local spin to its food. The okra, for instance, tastes straight out of a local zi char stall, with a full wok hei flavour. Its Fish of the Day (market price) comes with chermoula, a marinade and relish typically found in Algerian, Libyan, Moroccan and Tunisian cooking. But it is served whole — head, tail and skin intact — the way it would be at most local restaurants.

A standout dish is the Garlic Prawn (main image, left; market price) — a huge prawn served on a sizzling hotplate. The prawn is juicy, but the star of the dish is really the sauce of olive oil, garlic and seared coriander that it sits in. The prawn is served with pide, a Middle Eastern flatbread, to soak up all that savoury goodness. The restaurant displays its daily seafood selection in a chiller at the side of the open kitchen, so you can walk over to inspect the freshness of the produce. There is also a bar, with a selection of wines and specially created cocktails. Given its location, Claypots Full Circle is unlikely to attract a bunch of university students. But Yeo and Lim are hoping to give their diners a similarly memorable meal. 

103 Amoy Street
Tel: 6203 2203
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 10.30am to midnight; Saturday, 5pm to midnight
(Last orders for lunch and dinner at 2.30pm and 10pm respectively)