The quality and craftsmanship of a drink is often the focus for us at Spill. Afterall, the proof is always in the pudding, as they say.
But it’s always good to remind ourselves that it’s sometimes the soft factors like mood, weather and company (especially company), that affects the level of enjoyment the most.
During our recent visit to FLNT, a Japanese-Peruvian sumiyaki bar and grill in Orchard Road, and one-third of multi-concept space 1-Atico, we were delighted to find that rare congruence of factors that made the experience exceptional.
First off is its locale in downtown Singapore. It’s not just because of the central location, but rather, coupled with its 56th floor perch within ION Orchard, makes it the highest bar in that area. Floor-to-ceiling windows all around also grants an astounding sky-high panorama of the entire city below, a feature that’s sure to leave a lasting imprint in your memory.
There’s also something settling and comforting about such aerial vantages that gets you in the mood for an indulgent day. It’s as if the views are telling you that it’s time to let loose and that you’re deserving of some proper ‘me’ time right now.
The dark wood interiors accentuate that feeling as well. If you’ve ever visited the concept that came before 1-Atico, it now looks completely different. Gone are the white and bright aesthetics. Instead, it now feels warm, welcoming and homely.
But talk about the menu we must. While design and scenery can be game-changing, it’s the food and beverage that is central to any dining and drinking experience. And at FLNT, be prepared for something novel.
The cuisine type is something rarely seen executed in Singapore. Nikkei cuisine, essentially a marriage of Japanese and Peruvian dining sensibilities, takes centrestage, and it’s truly the best of both culinary worlds here.
From the raw bar, the Ceviche Nikkei (S$25) is a must. Here, fresh market fish gets naturally cooked using just acids from lime and yuzu juices, then tossed and served with roasted hazelnuts, avocado and white corn for a great balance of nuttiness and creaminess.
The sumiyaki grill is where the menu really shines. Dishes like the Gindara Misoyaki (S$28) and the Ikayaki (S$18) are easily FLNT’s best items. But meat lovers will not be disappointed by the Pluma Iberico (S$25) too. They are all common enough dishes, but simply executed really well here and with accompanying sauces that actually taste tailored to the exact needs of the proteins.
For drinks, there is a succinctly tidy list of cocktails to choose from. Just five cocktails are available, but showcases the blend of Nikkei influences well enough. The Kukishoku (S$20), a light and easy drink made with a base of Pisco and Midori is, surprisingly, a favourite, thanks in no small part to the well-balanced yuzu foam spread generously atop.
Serious drinkers will gravitate towards the Mizuame (S$25), a cognac-based cocktail with primary flavours of Kyoho grape and citrus (it’ll remind you of Hi-Chew). But this is actually a rather sweet and beginner-friendly tipple, meant more for showmanship (there’s dry ice underneath) than balance.
Try the Neuvo Casa (S$23) instead. There’s Pisco here yet again, but the use of yuzu sake with kumquat is rather interesting, and gives you something to think about as the flavours linger aromatically on your tongue.
Come during FLNT’s ‘Social Hours’ from 3-6pm daily to enjoy house cocktails at only S$15. It’s also the best time to be waiting for the sunset views to come on with a drink in hand.
But definitely explore beyond the cocktails. There are wines, beers and spirits to be savoured, but we’d highly recommend delving into the fine sake list at FLNT.
Find Takanami Sake Brewery’s Tanrei Karakuchi (S$128) available, even by the glass (S$20), or explore a selection of genshu and tokubetsu sakes that punch above their grade, and which pair really well with the grilled dishes too.
Looking for something special? Go for the Secchu Chozo Junmai Daiginjyo (S$198), a sake from Niigata that has been snow-aged for 4 months to bring out plenty of umami and sweetness in unison.
There’s lots to slowly relish at FLNT, be it the unique Nikkei cuisine (we’re definitely getting the gindara again) or the well curated sake selection. While those are things that’ll make you come back, it’s the combination of soft touches that will have you staying and lingering here till its doors close each night.
FLNT is located at Level 56 ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn, Singapore 238801.
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.