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19 Apr 2023 By

Thumping Music. Japanese Interior. Edgy Vibe. Sharing Plates. Kickass Sakes. Rocking Cocktails. Convinced Yet?

There’s a certain confidence about Neon Pigeon that’s apparent when you step into the restaurant/bar — honed from years of experiments and adventure. The bright art on the wall; the exuberance of their bartenders; the verve of their kitchen staff; and of course, the indie music that’s loud and lively. It says: Come on in, you’re gonna have a great time tonight.
I was determined to do that while sampling their new dishes and cocktails.

yama ringo lyres Agave Neon Pigeon

Start with a non-alcoholic Yama Ringo: made with toasted cinnamon, yuzu, apple and Lyre’s agave spirit. This is tarty and dry, and a welcoming palate cleanser for the umami dishes to follow. Cocktails are listed with Zero Proof, Half Proof or Full Proof to help with decision making.

japanese Drifter Neon Pigeon

The Roasted Amela Tomata ($16) is an elevated take on the grilled cheese sandwich.

Cocktail: Japanese Drifter. Give midori a chance. Here, the robust Bulldog Gin, tarty lemon juice and savoury yuzushu (kinda like a  yuzu liqueur) accompany Midori to make this cocktail exotic and easy to drink. Way easy, it’s balanced yet zesty, with flavours that dance on your tongue.

See No Hear No Speak No Neon Pigeon

Cocktail: See No, Hear No, Speak No

Oh, oh it’s the tomato. Vermouth and Fernet Hunter are all fab ingredients to use in a cocktail (together with salted plum gin and mirin), but here the cherry tomato brings an umami dimension that stops time and space. It’s bitter and sweet, complex yet recognisable but utterly original. Don’t be embarrassed about licking the side of the glass, we’ve all been there.

Bijou Neon Pigeon

The classic Bijou is given a bracing twist with the use of Bols Genever and Citadelle No Mistake Old Tom Gin. This one I treasured, because there’s now a worldwide Chartreuse shortage, so each Bijou or Last Word could be the last for a while. (Fun Fact: The monks responsible for making Chartreuse are cutting production by 10 per cent, I kid you not.)

shime iwashi Crispy ramen Neon Pigeon

Honourable mention: Shime Iwashi ($25) is a fun combination of crispy, crunchy ramen (reminds one of Mamee) and savoury miso tofu. This is a standout dish and a creative take on traditional Japanese flavours.

dirty martini neon pigeon

The Dirty Martini looked downright murky and swampy… just the way we like it!

Verdict: Highly recommended in all aspects. Love the ingenious take on modern Japanese cuisine; the cocktails were well thought out and served just right. (Don’t ask for a Ramos Gin Fizz… Actually yes, do ask for a Ramos Gin Fizz! And pass on the pandan-forward High on Saoco.) The vibe is all energetic and fun (think opposite of stuffy), while the service is attentive and fast.


Neon Pigeon, 36 Carpenter Street, Singapore 059915.

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