Sure, Johor Bahru got the usual—cheap finds, foot rubs, and seafood that lures Singaporeans across the border. But now, it’s a whole new game. The city’s culinary scene has grown up, offering something truly special for foodies. Here are four spots that’ll make even the pickiest eater do a happy dance.
Mervyn’s Kitchen: A Fairy-Tale Dining Adventure
Think fairy tale vibes meets rustic log cabin—welcome to Mervyn’s Kitchen. Run by Meryn Pee, a local guy with a passion for top-notch French pastries and seasonal goodies. He trained in Paris, cooked in fancy spots, but found his calling doing something different back in Johor.
In his cozy cottage-style home, Meryn dishes out seven-course meals that are pure art. French-inspired, cooked to perfection, and served with a smile. Booking ahead is a must—the place is hot property.
Kamii Sushi: Where the Sushi Tells Stories
This joint was a favorite of Lee Kuan Yew (yep, that Singaporean bigwig) when he visited Johor. It’s been a Japanese dining staple for ages, but now it’s all about omakase-style dining in a swanky new setting.
Walk into Kamii Eco Palladium for a dose of luxury—12 seats at the sushi bar, chefs creating magic, and a serene vibe with water features and Japanese touches. They don’t play around with quality—everything, from service to sake to the fish, is top-notch. Try the nigiri sushi—it’s a game-changer.
FirePitz Restaurant: Where Grills Rule
FirePitz is where carnivores find nirvana. Picture this: wood charcoal grills firing up premium meats. The chef, JJ, learned the ropes at Gordon Ramsay’s spot in Singapore before bringing his A-game to Johor.
This place knows its steaks—wagyu, Angus, you name it—all grilled to perfection. But it’s not just about the meats; the small plates are stars too. Think torched Romaine, grilled eggplant with miso, and fish collar that’ll make you drool.
Project Smoked: American BBQ with a Local Twist
Nestled in a regular house in JB, Project Smoked is where American BBQ gets a Malaysian touch. Bino, a JB local, fell in love with Southern-style barbecue during his uni days in the US and brought it back home.
He realized something was missing in JB’s BBQ scene—pork and alcohol. So, he started Project Smoked out of his parents’ place during the pandemic. Now, it’s a full-blown restaurant. Expect porky delights like Iberico Belly Burnt Ends and Kurobuta Spare Ribs, slow-cooked to perfection in their wood smoker.
Wrap Up: Johor Bahru’s Culinary Gems
Johor Bahru isn’t just about border escapades anymore. It’s a food haven. From fairy-tale dining at Mervyn’s Kitchen to sushi stories at Kamii, sizzling steaks at FirePitz, and American BBQ with a twist at Project Smoked, these spots are rewriting JB’s culinary scene, one mouthwatering dish at a time.