Johor Bahru Culinary Hidden Gems

Johor Bahru. Mervyn’s Kitchen feels like stepping into a fairy tale. Picture a lodge-style house with vines and a cozy cabin vibe that whisks you away from the hustle of downtown Johor. Run by Meryn Pee, whose love for French pastries and seasonal flavors defines this private dining spot.

Trained in Paris, he noticed a lack of private dining options back home and took matters into his own hands, offering delightful seven-course menus in his rustic home. The place is so popular that booking way ahead is the name of the game.

Kamii Sushi: Where Lee Kuan Yew Savored Japanese Cuisine 

This spot was once Lee Kuan Yew’s top pick for Japanese food in Johor, and it’s still going strong. Kamii Sushi revamped itself, offering only omakase menus in a s

Imagine a 12-seater sushi bar, chefs crafting exquisite dishes against a backdrop of serene water features. Everything here screams attention to detail, from personalized service to top-notch tableware sourced from Japan. Their nigiri sushi is a standout, featuring rare fish and a special touch from their in-house Nikiri.

FirePitz Restaurant: Grilled Goodness by the Border 

FirePitz Restaurant was born during the pandemic when Chef JJ returned to Johor and brought his expertise from Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant in Singapore. Their specialty? Grilling meats over wood charcoal, a first in Johor Bahru. Steaks take center stage here, from wagyu to Japanese A5 wagyu, cooked to crispy, charred perfection. But don’t overlook their small plates, like their torched Romaine salad or grilled fish collar.

Project Smoked: Southern-Style BBQ with a Local Twist 

Hidden in a quiet JB suburb, Project Smoked is an American BBQ spot with a local twist. Bino, a JB local, fell in love with southern-style BBQ during his studies in the US and brought it home. He noticed a gap in the market for pork and alcohol-infused BBQ joints and decided to start Project Smoked during the pandemic, initially operating from his parents’ house. 

Now, it’s a full-fledged restaurant in Taman Sentosa. They serve premium cuts like Iberico Belly Burnt Ends and Kurobuta Spare Ribs, slow-cooked with love in their wood smoker. Accompanied by award-winning craft beers, it’s a meat lover’s paradise.

Each spot in Johor Bahru brings something unique to the table, catering to different tastes and cravings. From the fairy tale charm of Mervyn’s Kitchen to the meticulous elegance of Kamii Sushi, the smoky goodness of FirePitz, and the flavorful American BBQ at Project Smoked, these hidden culinary gems are worth crossing the Causeway for.