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#539

EAT DRINK AND BE MERRY

18 Sep 2017 By

Our roundup of new eateries and bars that have good food and great drinks, or have great pairing options. Because what matters is that you eat drink and be merry.

There are bars, and there are bars with bar food, and there are food joints with bars that complement each other. And there are restaurants that do great pairings. This is our roundup of places that serve good grub and killer drinks as well, because we insist that you eat drink and be merry.

 

LIMEHOUSE

limehouse vegan risotto

Eat: Limehouse, my fav Caribbean restaurant, Caribbean bar (Bago), fav Caribbean everything, has a fresh new menu with plenty of fresh ‘limin’ offerings. Some of its authentic island fare has been adapted for local palates, so you get the Crab Springroll, a thick handful of stuffed crab, callaloo (leafy veg) and cilantro coconut sauce. The Vegan Risotto is a tropical dish of delight with jerk tofu in a pumpkin and coconut broth. The menu is a highlight reel, and other standouts include Oistins Sea Basket, with deep fried squid and spicy sambal tartar sauce. (They’re not kidding about the spice level, it’s DefCon1). The classics like Jerk Chicken will always reign, but it’s time to revisit to savour their new dishes.

limehouse daiquiri

Drink: Rum cocktails, all the way. Start, as always, with a Daiquiri, cos when you’re limin, you gotta have lime. This fresh blend actually goes with the starters, whether it’s spicy or sticky. The Mojito is equally lifting, and with a portion that’ll last a few courses. Want something more spirit-forward? Move on to the Morris (named after owner Chris), an Old Fashioned with a cinnamon twist, or their signature Rumgroni

limehouse abuelo rum

Merry: Limehouse is a casual, friendly spot with lively afrohouse Caribbean beats, and a laidback island vibe. You’ll find yourself stranded here, what with the friendly prices and unique offerings. Done with dinner? Head upstairs to Bago, the bar has a massive rum collection, so definitely order a dram – the Abuelo Centuria is something else.

Limehouse, 2 Jiak Chuan Road, Chinatown, tel: 6222-3130. Hours: Tues – Sat, 5pm – midnight.

 

GINETT RESTAURANT & WINE BAR

Ginett brunch salad

Eat: The T.U.F. (Till U’re Full) Brunch at only $42++ will get you way more than you bargained for at this bistro-style restaurant. You can do a la carte sure, but it’s your weekend, so go whole hog and fill up. You choose two dishes from four sections of the menu (equals eight dishes total, math geeks), and the choices include rotisserie, desserts, cheese and cold cuts, salads and eggs. Standouts include the Free Range Organic Rotisserie Chicken, Smoked Salmon Egg Cocotte, Crème Brulee, and the Grilled Veggie Salad. It’s a guaranteed UWBF: U. Will. Be. Full.

ginett brunch

Weekend threesome.

Drink: Add another $32++ to the Brunch and you get free flow drinks, a limited selection of Bloody Marys, Muscadets and Mimosas. The Muscadet is tart and fresh and should pair well with most of the dishes, the Bloody Mary will aid in easing your Sunday in, and the Mimosa, well, it’s juice + sparkling. If none of these appeal, then just spring for a bottle of French wine. They have a large selection of reasonably-priced ones which start at $30. At these prices, skip the food, and drink till you’re full.

Merry: The bright, airy interior is a welcome sight on a weekend; it’s friendly and spacious, and a party of 6-8 rabble-rousers should get the high communal table. The T.U.F. deal is one of the best, so we’re likely to go back. Plus Ginett does a killer happy hour on Tuesday.

Ginett Restaurant & Wine Bar, Hotel G Singapore, 200 Middle Road, tel: 6809-7989. Weekend Brunch 11am-4pm.

 

BIG SAKE BAR

big sake bar

Eat: An Omakase surprise at only $88 (add $20 for a sake carafe, more of that later). The eight-course menu focuses on fresh ingredients and premium grade A4 wagyu beef. Though the courses might change, according to Chef Andy’s whims and available ingredients, you’ll love the sashimi platter, Negitoro Don (quite filling, with quail egg and minced blue fin tuna) and definitely the Asari Miso Soup, with a seafood-based broth that’s nourishing and bracingly delish.

big sake bar2

Drink: There’s a fairly decent selection of sakes here. Okay, more than decent. For the omakase set, you’ll have a choice of one of the three house pours to choose from, which you can sample before deciding. The Toyo Bijin (read: Asian Beauty) is a slightly sweet junmai daiginjyo from the Yamaguchi Prefecture. Nabeshima ‘Pink Label’ is a sweet, slightly effervescent tokubetsu honjozo, while the Karakuchi Ki-ippon from Masumi is a dry delight (my choice), a junmai ginjyo that should pair well with most of the dishes. All sakes come in 170ml carafes.

[ Here’s an interesting take on local food entrepreneurs by our friends at Spirited Singapore ]

big sake bar3

Merry: The owners here love their quaff, and the vibe here is convivial, laidback and unassuming. Retro style Japanese pop culture posters commandeer the walls; otherwise you’re treated to the sight of loads and loads of sake bottles. As for the name, co-owner Jeremy Goh says it’s because they’re “big on food, big on service, and big on sakes”. To which we can only say, “subarashi”. Heartily recommended.

Big Sake Bar, 302 Beach Road, #01-02, The Concourse Skyline, tel: 6291-2700/9656-7105.

 

BAM!

Bam! Kampong Egg With Baby Sotong And Chorizo - 2Eat: This shudo restaurant has taken the bold step to be a full-fledged omakase eatery. Chef Pepe Moncayo has evolved his Spanish-influenced cuisine and sake-pairing idea from its a la carte origins and now confidently says, “trust me” (or “confía en mí, créeme”, in Spanish). The new focus means you get the best seasonal produce, the freshest ingredients available – and starts at S$98++ for four courses, with a vegetarian option from $78++ as well. The hits: Lobster with eggplant confit, bubuarare and Avruga caviar; Spanish Octopus with enoki & nameko mushrooms and shiokonbu pickles – almost all the surprise dishes were a class above. And then there’s the sake pairing.

Bam sake

Drink: There’s a stellar selection here to pair with the dishes, the 80 labels include small-batch and organic sakes. Pairing costs extra, obviously, depending on how many courses you opted for, and it mostly works (you can’t ever hit 100%). The best was the Inaba Shuzuo Junmai Ginjo paired with the New Zealand grouper, the dry notes complemented the fish well. The Kijuro Tokubetsu Honjozo from the Hyogo region was another great match with the aforementioned Spanish octopus – one word for you: “umami”. You could just as easily order a bottle and dispense with the pairing, but sometimes you’ve got decision fatigue and just want to leave it to the somms.
Bam! Chef Pepe MoncayoMerry: With its open concept, you’re privvy to the crew’s nonstop movement and the kitchen’s ceaseless susurration – it all adds to a spirited atmosphere. Chef Moncayo (above) randomly pops by to introduce the dishes, and is likeably chatty. The space is large, so if you prefer some privacy go to the bar side instead. The craft selection is small, but hey, it’s a sake restaurant. Verdict: Trust them.

Bam! 38 Tras Street, tel: 6226-0500. (Closed on Sunday)

 

APOTHECARY (OXWELL & CO)

apothecary food

Eat: Once you can make it through the illegible menu, you’re in for a treat. The marinated olives and spiced nuts (above) make pretty good snacks, even the fries rate. The mushroom slider is more than adequate, it’s juicy, has bite and texture, and is a decent mealplacement. The food here is meant to be easy-going and fuss free. You can get a more elaborate dinner in the Oxwell & Co restaurant itself.

apothecary negroni

Drink: Now we’re talking. The bar wears its claim of ‘Powders, Elixirs, Tonics and Tintures’ proudly, so expect the cocktails to be a bit fussier – but it is worth the effort and the wait. The Blood Orange Negroni ($24) is a composition of Hendrick’s Gin, Campari, Mancino Rosso vermouth, and a slice of blood orange gelatin. Ye olde doctor knows how to have a bit of fun, and yes, it’s bloody decent. The Croak & Wheeze Relief ($24) should cure any uncommon ailment you have; it’s a smoky olde fashioned if you will, with Glenfiddich 12 Years Whisky, honey sage syrup, citrus and orange bitters. The fun part is you mixing the potions together. Doctor, heal thyself!

apothecary interior dfl

Merry: The décor is eccentric, the space seems like a hidden alcove (ask about the even-more private space behind the bar), and it’s a cosy spot to while away a few hours. If you need fresh air, there’s always the gin garden with tea infusions.

 

 

FAT PRINCE

kebab tray fat prince

Eat: Modern Eastern Fare. This is a café/bar-kebabery influenced by the vibrancy of the bohemian Karakoy neighbourhood in Istanbul, and the European café culture in the region. The founders and team ate their way through Turkey (6 full meals a day!) to find inspiration. The result: Tasty taco-sized kebabs to share, and side dishes like the Duck Fat Hummus or the Red Quinoa. Both get the Parched thumbs up.

morroccan mary fat prince

Drink: A variety of Raki is available, as well as classic cocktails with interesting Middle Eastern touches (infused dates, anyone?). Wines are from Morocco and Lebanon (!), and signature cocktails plus house-made sodas (alcohol shot optional) totally make this a watering hole as well.

Merry: The interior by EDG Interior Architecture + Design embodies Istanbul’s opulant café culture and European meets Middle Eastern style as its trademarks. Sitting is either communal or on small tables for intimacy, and food sharing is encouraged.The Ottoman Room at the back is more opulent, review coming soon.

Fat Prince, 44 Peck Seah Street, Tel: 6221-3683.

 

MITZO

Mitzo dimsum

Eat: The restaurant (and bar) offers a contemporary take on Chinese cuisine. The presentation is innovative, but it stays true to its Cantonese roots through its use of fresh ingredients and execution. The Dimsum Platter is the best way to start, then move on to the lemon glazed prawns.

Drink: Watch this video. That’s smoke coming out of their teapot, which holds the Chinese Collins (variation of the Tom Collins, using Haymans old Tom gin, Chartreuse green, goji berry syrup, lime juice and sparking Herbal tea. A lot of effort goes in their cocktails here, so be prepared for interesting remixes like Uncle Negroni, Ultimate Gin & Tonic Experience (a choice of four variants and cool ice cubes), plus Le Sommelier, a mulled cocktail with a pulled blue flame.

mitzo

Merry: Bar Manager Marco Pignotta also brings a modern/Asian take to classics, and the sleek interior of the bar is a perfect setting for many of their revamps (cue dramatic light changes when he’s flaring, it’s not as cheesy as it sounds!) This supper club is right in the heart of the Orchard area, where there aren’t many great bars besides The Other Room and Manhattan. It’s a worthy stop, and you’ll find yourself staring at the aquarium, wondering what the jellyfish are up to.

Mitzo, Level 4 Grand Park Orchard, 270 Orchard Road Singapore 238857, Tel 6603-8855

 

DRINKS & CO

Drinks & Co - Chef selection_IMG_0757a

Eat: The ‘eat’ part of Drinks & Co is relatively new, as they’ve only just opened their own kitchen to revellers. The Holland Village outlet now has weekend brunch for punters who want to start early. The Chef’s Platter includes tapas, cheese and cold cuts, and at $30 for 2 or $50 for 4 it’s a fairly good start. I like the Huevos Rancheros (Mexican eggs, $15) as it’s a perfect hangover dish (I was not) – it’s flavourful and fresh and reminds one of a Bloody Mary. Also I preferred this egg offering instead of the Benedict. The Co Wagyu Burger ($17) is substantial, a chunky portion of meat made bloody and bucolic. In the evenings definitely spring for the pizzas or wings. (Brunch starts 11am at Holland Village only).

drinks & co wine

Drink: As an alcohol distributor their wine selection is unbeatable both for range and value. You’re getting good boutique wines starting at $40+, we recommend you begin your brunch with Anna de Codorniu Blanc de Blancs $50, and for whites go with Astrolabe Marlborough Chardonnay 2014 $46, and Two Rivers Convergence Sauvignon Blanc $42. The latter is well worth it for its fragrant nose and fresh notes – could drink it all day.

Merry: It’s got a good happy hour here: Draft beer pint $9, a double shot G’Vine Gin & Fever Tree Tonic $9, and house wine by the glass $7. Otherwise just buy a bottle of can’t-fail wine, it’s the best restaurant deal in Singapore. Did we mention spirits by the bottle starts at $65? You can also get a take-home Negroni set for $69. Deals. Just great deals.

Drinks & Co, 27 Jalan Mambong, Holland Village, Tel: 6463-4995.

 

OLA BEACH CLUB

Ola beach club

Eat: The new beach club in Siloso Beach, Sentosa, is a Hawaiian-theme lifestyle venue. Similarly the food is just as inspired: Lomi-Lomi Salmon (above, $16) is a confit of Norwegian salmon flaked and tossed with tomatoes, sweet Maui onions and a spritz of lemon, cradled in a mini waffle cup and topped off with flying fish roe or caviar (+$4); the Ahi Poke Bowl ($20) of diced tuna marinated in a choice of shoyu, kimchi or togarashi dressing. Also spring for the Kua’Aina Burger. Hungry yet?

Ola beach club

Drink: Bartender Alex Ng, previously from Loof, Bar Stories and Tess Bar & Kitchen, has crafted eight signature cocktails that are unique to Ola. Start with the refreshing Hala Lei ($18); gin, tangy pineapple juice, chamomile tea and a homemade allspice liqueur. Perfect to nurse in the morning sun, Siloso Firstlight ($18) features tequila, freshly squeezed orange juice, homemade pomegranate syrup and a sliver of mango. Ah, island life…

Merry: Ola, which means “life” in Hawaiian, seeks to transport a little piece of easy-going island living from the middle of the Pacific Ocean to the tiny island of Singapore, and hopes to inspire guests to slow down, let loose and enjoy life to the fullest with family and friends. If however you’re not the slow down sort, you can Jet Pack or Jet Blade. Do one better than the son of god, and float above water instead.

Ola Beach Club, 46 Siloso Beach Walk, Sentosa, Singapore.

 

LEVEL33

level33 food

Eat: The new menu by Chef Jimi is outrageously good, and it can be matched with the beers as well. The Octopus starter Red with cabbage brine, pomegranate and corn purée, and the Forest (above), with mushrooms in seven textures, 65° organic yolk, oak meringue and pumpernickel crumb with both go with the Blonde Lager or Indian Pale Ale. The Market Catch with pan-baked fish, hazelnut poached salsify, green asparagus and soy gastrique is a ringer for the Wheat.

level33

Drink: It’s LeVeL33, you come here for the beers and nothing else. Well the view, yes, but mostly the beers. Do yourself a favour and just order the Beer Tasting Paddle – you get five 0.1L craft brews. If your timing is right, there’s always a seasonal to sample. In this case, the Pumpkin.

Merry: As mentioned, the sunset is unbeatable, as this bar has a unique view of the bay, nestled as it is by the business district, on one side is the Me@Oue Lounge, on the other is Ce La Vi. And you’re looking right into the Bayfront and the east. Evening tend to get crowded, so make a reservation.

LeVeL33, #33-01, Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 1, 8 Marina Boulevard. 

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