There are bars, and there are bars with bar food, and there are food joints and with bars that complement each other. We have a review of places that serve good grub and killer cocktails as well, because we insist that you eat drink and be merry.
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 (Chef Hunter J Moyes of TV Show Chopped Canada helms the kitchen) 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.
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.
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.
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
CACHE / IZY
Eat: Cache is the secluded (not secret) bar inside Izy, and it offers fun small plates or lighter fair to go with the cocktails and sakes. Start with the Izy Roll (above, $16), tempura shrimp and tempura asparagus topped with spicy crab mayo, avocado and flying fish roe. Then do the Crunch Roll: ($12), with empura shrimp, flying fish roe, avocado and spicy sauce topped with tempura bits.
Both are original creations and exclusive to the restaurant. What sets them apart is a delicious taste-spinning blanket of spicy crab mayo dressing lightly torched around the sushi roll, and a playful coat of puffy tempura bits that add a delightful crunch to the dish.
Drink: There’s a great selection of cocktails from craft bartender Shinya Kobe from Kunamoto, Japan, but you should definitely spring for the seasonal sakes. We can’t recommend a label, cos they’d be gone by the time you order. Just ask for the seasonal brews, and specify your preferred profiles: umami, dry, sweet etc.
Merry: It’s got a good happy hour here (cocktails $10++ 5-8pm every day), considering it’s competing with the dives along Club Street. The vibe is decidedly cosy, and though the music selection could use some oomph, Cache at the back of Izy has an interesting menu of Japanese bites, and it does feel a world away when you’re cocooned here.
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?
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.
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.
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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