Whether you’re planning a romantic date night with your significant other, looking to impress someone you like or simply looking for a place to chill with your friends, Brunei is keen to impress. Be sure to check these 3 places out!

Jazz Bar and Grill

(Photo courtesy of @jazzbarandgrill)

For the romantic at heart who loves to splurge a little, has a soft spot for jazz music and warm lighting, the Jazz Bar and Grill (@jazzbarandgrill) has it all. Furthermore, this place gives you the choice to dine al fresco (outdoor) style to enjoy the night sky or you could stick to the cool, air-conditioned indoors. Serving a range of Western-style dishes including pastas, steaks and seafood, the choice is endless. To make your partner feel a little more special the Jazz Bar and Grill also work with Balloon Boutique to help you set up your table the way you like it (balloons, flowers, candles, you name it!)

Location: Regent Square, Kiulap located close to Sorriso.

What my partner and I had here: Slow-roasted herbed 1/2 chicken and blue cheese topped Ribeye steak. Both came with a choice of mashed potatoes or chips and garden vegetables, salad or coleslaw. The steak could also be cooked medium rare or well done.

Cost: Roast chicken was 15 Brunei Dollars (BND). Steak was BND 26 for 180 grammes.

Herb-roasted chicken

Blue cheese topped steak

Thoughts:  Being slow-roasted, the chicken had a thin, crispy skin with an incredibly flavourful, juicy and tender meat. The addition of the herbs also gave the meat a savoury aroma and wasn’t overpowering. Served with both the gravy and jam separate, it was fun being able to play around with the salty and sweet components to balance it out to my preference. Meanwhile, the blue cheese topping on the steak had a strong but not overwhelming smell with a good salty flavour and hint of bitterness. The steak was also cooked to our preference of medium rare so it was incredibly juicy with a bit of firmness. I loved that the chips served were fried to golden-brown perfection with a crisp outside while the inside was fluffy and well-seasoned. The coleslaw also added a pleasant crunch to the dish with creaminess that wasn’t overly heavy. Not to mention, the service here was excellent with the staff checking on us regularly and offered to explain the specials of the day. Furthermore, the portion size was huge and we were stuffed beyond belief by the end of our meal!

Alter Ego

(Photo courtesy of @alteregofoods)

If you’re looking to make an impression but still want to keep it relatively casual, Alter Ego (@alteregofoods) may the option you’re looking for. With natural lighting, clean aesthetics and modern decor, it feels both fancy and contemporary but doesn’t leave you feeling out of place. Priding themselves in serving fusion cuisine, this place is great for those who can’t choose between Western and Asian cuisine. Popular for their dainty and stunning desserts, this place is also great for those with a sweet tooth.

Location: Setia Kenangan 2 Complex, Kiulap located near Pepper Lunch.

What my partner and I had here: Classic tea set for 2, which includes a savoury tier and a sweet tier plus choice of tea or coffee each. Classic French strawberry cake.

Cost: Classic tea set for 2 was BND 20. Classic french strawberry cake was roughly BND 8.

Thoughts: Though I liked the cream cheese pastry from the savoury tier and the french opera cake as well as the carrot cake from the sweet tier, I felt that most of the other items in the tea set were a little underwhelming. Most of the cakes were a either a little too sweet for my liking or left a greasy film on my tongue. That being said, the classic French strawberry cake was exceptional. I loved that it wasn’t tooth-achingly sweet and had a lighter taste to it especially with the use of fresh strawberries. The white chocolate mousse was smooth and light while the lightly toasted meringue had a slight sticky marshmallow texture.

Le Keris

(Photo courtesy of @le_keris)

Want something that feels like the typical fine dining but with a more unconventional and back-to-basics setting? With Le Keris (@le_keris) aiming to modernise Malay cuisine, this location is a great option for those seeking to break away from traditional standards.

Location: First Floor of Seri Kiulap Mall

What my partner and I had here: Kerabu Sotong, Ikan Bakar, Kari Ayam and Tart Nenas

Cost: BND 33 total

Ikan Bakar

Kerabu Sotong

Kari Ayam

Tart Nenas

Thoughts: The squid in the kerabu sotong was cooked perfectly being just tender and the whole dish had a wonderful balance of flavours with a fresh zesty sournessgood amount of salt, hint of sweetness, kick of spice and bitterness from the pomelo. Everything tasted fresh and light from the crisp red onions to the fresh coriander and green onions. The fish in the ikan bakar was incredibly fork-tender and succulent with a sweet onion sambal smothered on top that tasted very similar to the familiar nasi katok sambal. Similarly, the chicken in the Kari Ayam was just as tender and juicy with a soft and flavourful skin. To make it better, the sauce that came with it was thick and creamy with a taste that reminded me of my childhood favourite snack called KOKO Snek Ayam. To end it all, the tart nenas was equally spectacular with a soft and smooth pineapple ice cream that had a pleasant caramelised scent to it and the slightest tanginess. Combined with the crushed biscuits and mini pavlova, the texture was a great contrast.

Any other recommendations?

Do you agree with my choices? Are these really the best spots to take your sweetheart in Brunei? I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a comment below or reach out to ‘Neue’ via Facebook or Instagram.

*Editor’s note: This story was written in collaboration with our local friend from Bruneian Eats. You can follow ‘Bruneian Eats’ on Instagram by clicking here. To visit the ‘Bruneian Eats’ blog, click here. To read her previous write-up that was featured in ‘Neue’, click here.