Step into the second-floor shophouse space on Tanjong Pagar Road which houses Spectre and you might easily mistaken it for just another cocktail bar – albeit a beautifully decked out one.
Yet under its vintage apothecary veneer lies not just a watering hole, but also a restaurant dishing out its own brand of comfort cuisine, and more interestingly, a safe space for those seeking respite from the mental distresses life often throws at us.
It achieves the latter in subtle (poignantly so) but creative ways. Such as how guests are given a piece of paper to write down their worries before being given a lighter to set it ablaze. The design of its seats also encourages guests to mingle and make new friends – establishing social connection is always a good mental salve.
There’s even a secret S$500 item on the menu that could result in one of several things. We hear it could range from a therapy session with a qualified professional to a wellness staycation with a hotel partner, or even an art jamming session or tasting workshop to take your mind off things.
These novelties are not meant to deter those simply looking for good drink and food either. On the contrary, Spectre boasts really stellar items. Some of the best in recent F&B history.
Co-founder Andrew Pang, who is also the regional brand Ambassador for Beam Suntory, serves up a cocktail menu featuring a good mix of spirited as well as no-and-low-alcohol drinks that incorporate adaptogens and natural mood boosters.
Take the Bonseki (S$25), a warm snake soup and mezcal-based cocktail served on a micro Japanese sand raking box. The traditional medicinal qualities of the soup combined with the tactile raking element offers a level of therapeutic release.
The Bar Marina (S$20) meanwhile is a simple low-ABV concoction of matcha green tea and Peroni lager (and a pinch of citrus), meant to incorporate healthier ingredients into a beer cocktail template.
The aptly named Helping Hand (S$25) is probably our favourite. A mix of tequila, coffee liqueur, Cointreau, espresso, and soda, this caffeinated cocktail is delicious and the serving ritual is also a fun treat to experience – trust us and order one to find out for yourself.
Beyond the signature drinks, a good selection of negroni and highball variations add to the variety here. Have a Perfume Trees Negroni (S$25) for a highly aromatic twist on the classic that we find softy seductive and alluring.
Meanwhile, other founder Inch Chua, whom most know as a musician and MasterChef finalist, is the one in charge of the food. The multi-disciplinary creative shows off her culinary prowess with dishes so good, they are definitely a draw all on their own.
The Watermelon Sashimi (S$15) is one standout. Resembling slices of salmon sashimi (don’t worry, it doesn’t taste like fish), each bite into the watermelon slices bursts with savoury, herbal, and citrusy sensations.
Mains like the Classic Claypot Rice (S$12), with its hearty and toasty crispy rice, Chinese sausage, and well marinated chicken chunks, is highly comforting and moreish. Or just order up a pair of Praco Dogs (S$12) – a chorizo sausage in roti prata wrap accompanied with sriracha mayo, lettuce slaw, pickled onions, and green apple – for instant satisfaction if you’re feeling peckish.
The Signature Soup Furnace Herbal Chicken Soup (S$20) is a must-have. Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the double boiled soups of famed Chinese restaurants, enjoying a bowlful of this is a literal soothing balm for the soul.
There are few venues that do what Spectre does, and so well. Whether you choose to load up on alcohol or food at Spectre, or honestly here to find a safe space amidst the hustle and bustle of the CBD, you’ll definitely find relief in its soulful offerings.
Spectre is located at 120 Tanjong Pagar Road, #02-01, Singapore 088532.
About the Author
Dannon Har is the Managing Editor of Spill. Discovering his innate gift for drinking only at a ripe age, he spares no time trying to find more delicious drops to imbibe during his time on Earth. When he’s not minding every detail at Spill, he spends his time concocting luscious libations and sharing them with folks that visit his home bar.