THE WAREHOUSE HOTEL BAR
07 Apr 2017 By David Fuhrmann-Lim
The bar program at the Warehouse Hotel lobby is inspired by its naughty history, but it’s also innovative and fun (so yeah, no reinterpretation of the Sling). What should you look out for?
There are nine cocktails in the lobby bar menu, separated into the Spice Trade age (19th century), the Godown span (mid 20th century), and The Warehouse Disco era (late 20th century). you can obviously order off menu (more of that later), but it’s good to start here, as there are some gems.
Bar manager Andrew Zeng tells us that all the alcohol infusions and essences are made in-house. And the team wanted to create elevated beverages that evoke memories by taking a five-senses approach to their cocktails using modern techniques, like liquid nitrogen and smoking guns and regional ingredients to bring an element of theatricality to the overall experience.
In short, a menu that embraced the Warehouse’s sordid past (it was rumoured to be a rice wine distillery at one time), scandalous surrounds, and its present stylish sangfroid. And so we plowed through more than 10 cocktails, and here are the ones we’d come back for.
The Kopi Cat is a #winner, with salted caramel vodka, espresso, Frangelico hazelnut liqueur (swoon), condensed milk, chocolate and honeycomb. It’s shaken goodness you can crunch and consume, and a drink where – like a good Netflix series – you can’t just stop at one. ($19)
The Barbarella has a sprig of baby’s breath which is cute in a good way, and is made with hibicus gin, elderflower, rhubarb and earl grey tea. It’s bracing, but also works a treat as it’s almost like a sour, a rich sour I might add. ($21).
The tiki-style Lady Luck cocktail is served in these receptacles, and you gotta admit they are splendid to look at – while a tiki cocktail with mint and fruits looks like a tiki cocktail. This combines citrus vodka, roselle gin, honeybush, pineapple shrub, ginger, coconut and lemon oleo saccharum for a fruity sweet assault, the steeped tea gives it a notable layer. ($19)
Whisky Houston ($20), we have takeoff: whisky, toffee, molasses, barley, coconut water, and spiced bitters topped off with grated nutmeg. It’s almost like a chendol by any other name, though with two shots of Monkey Shoulder, it’s not something your neighbourhood uncle would serve you. Beautifully nuanced… but not a chendol.
Yes, it’s a green Singapore Sazerac ($20). Green because of the pandan bitters, so while it’s utterly spirit-forward you can still be overwhelmed by the pandan. Don’t let the colour put you off though, this is pretty refined.
Our off-menu order, because you gotta end the night with a Martini (Sichuan Pepper Gin, Mancino Blanco, lemon zest and black pepper), and a Boulevardier (above). Many years ago I had my first Boulevardier at The Black Swan (same owners), and am glad our bar fella Andrew Zeng carries on the fine tradition of making a classic without too much fuss and with just a touch of splendour.
Also one final word: It doesn’t feel like a hotel bar, which is a plus.
The Warehouse Hotel, 320 Havelock Road, robertson Quay, Singapore 169628. Tel: 6828-0008.