Refreshed menus happen frequently among bars and restaurants. But sometimes, venues undergo a refresh that goes beyond the usual, offering interior decor upgrades and even conceptual changes that feels more like a brand new thing entirely.
At these following establishments – ranging from award-winning cocktail bars to quaint gastrobars, multi-concept spaces to sky-high microbreweries with a view – we checked out what’s new in store.
This unassuming Telok Ayer beef and wine specialist already dishes out amazing food and drink on the daily, but with their newly revamped second-floor space and limited-time wine promotions, we simply can’t recommend this place enough. We’re adoring their current ongoing complimentary box of charcuterie (worth over S$58) with every bottle of wine (from S$89) you purchase there.
It’s a great incentive to come in early for an early wine to begin the evening with, before delving into items like their highly addictive Cognac Chicken (S$18) and indulgent dry-aged ribeyes that comes in varieties such as herb mustard, cognac, and porcini mushroom (S$118-S$138). For pairings, there’s a massive wine list to pick from. Thankfully, the resident sommelier is an affable chap happy to offer recommendations according to your liking.
Part kaiseki restaurant and part cocktail bar, GOHO is a welcome coming together of well-loved Japanese food and drink in a modern, vibrant, and creative way. Simply choose between the 11-dish Sakura (S$98), 13-dish Sumire (S$138), or 15-dish Ume (S$188) courses, pick between the alcoholic (S58, S$78 and S$98 respectively) or non-alcoholic pairings (S38, S$58 and S$78 respectively), and you’re good to go.
We love how the alcohol pairings are so diverse. From sparkling sake to craft beer, cocktails to natural wine, there’s bound to be something new to discover for the intrepid drinker. Even the non-alcoholic pairings offer a wide range of flavours and styles – such as sparkling teas, fruit sodas and even zero ABV takes on wines and cocktails. You’re bound to leave here thoroughly satisfied both in body and in mind.
Joo Chiat Oyster House
The nighttime alter ego of King’s Cart Coffee Factory at Joo Chiat, the Oyster House concept rises when the sun sets (from 5pm), transforming the usually bright and white cafe into a dark and dimly lit, bar-like space better suited to drinking and dining. As the name suggests, oysters are the stars of the show, with plump Japanese oysters being served in raw, flavoured, or baked varieties starting from S$3.10 each.
To go with the fresh and succulent eats are a fun selection of cocktails inspired by local culture and quips. Take the East Coast Plan (S$22), a refreshing mix of gin, mint, lime, and prosecco, that reminds everyone of the awkward fumble made during the last general elections. Meanwhile, the desserty Solero (S$20) is a nostalgic rum-based cocktail that tastes exactly as promised – the Solero lime vanilla ice cream we all enjoyed during childhood.
Best known for their micro-brewed beers, the popular sky-high haunt now has a veritable cocktail programme up and running, thanks in no small part to Thomas Sobota of Caribbean bar Lime House fame now at the helm. The bar manager wastes no time in dishing out his brand of craft mixology, with drinks that span categories such as Craft Beer Cocktails and Strong & Classic, among others.
The House of Presidente (S$26), falling under the latter category, is a charmingly pink-hued take on the classic rum cocktail, using dark rum, dry vermouth, orange liqueur, and grenadine in its mix. But our favourite has got to be the Three Porters (S$25), a deliciously robust and layered drink made of whisky, stout, an IPA, strawberry, and lime. No one does beer cocktails quite like this.
Mortar & Pestle
This rooftop haunt perched atop a charming shophouse space along South Bridge Road is perfect for laid back chill-out sessions with a group of friends. Opened by Nakul Pathak of Cafe Tailor Made, you can be sure to expect that same level of creativity and attention to detail with his drinks here – not to mention the great sense of hospitality he is so known for.
We are especially intrigued by the cocktails made using craft gins from Canada. There’s the stiff and crisp Maple Martini (S$26), made using the creamy-delicious Cirka Vodka Terroir, combined with the botanical and earthy Cirka Gin Sauvage, then stirred down with a homemade lavender and maple bitters. The Perfect Collins (S$24) is solid too. Made with Cirka Gin 375 as a base, find lots of red berry and baking spice notes in this one, with a refreshing herbal quality to it as you go in for sip after sip.
Ms. Maria & Mr. Singh
The Singapore outpost of famed chef Gaggan Anand’s casual offshoot similarly tells the love story between fictional characters Ms. Maria & Mr. Singh, named as a conceptual reflection of the coming together of Mexican and Indian dining cultures at the vibrant and celebrated venue. Opening with fresh new interiors and a course menu offering great value (S$48 for 5-course lunch, S$78 for 8-course dinner), there’s lots to love both food and drink wise.
Find progressive cocktails like When A Man Loves A Woman (S$25), made using a split base of mezcal and tequila, and with alluring flavours derived from turmeric and bergamot. Or choose from a well-curated wine list of bubbles and natural vino, as well as classics and choice bottlings from unconventional regions the likes of Greece and Croatia. The staff here are more than capable of offering pairing suggestions too.
No Sleep Club
A hotspot when it comes to cocktails, the hip Keong Saik venue is revamping its food offerings in tandem with its drinks, offering a complete update to its menu. This comes alongside staff updates to the team. Complementing No Sleep Club’s stellar bar squad are new chefs Federico Tiseyra and Nuria González Alcaide, hailing from Barcelona, at the kitchen helm.
They dish out creatively hearty cuisine, utilising techniques like grilling, fermentation and caramelising to bring out plenty of flavour. Founder and bar maestro Juan Yi Jun then mixes up highly intriguing cocktails like the Gyu-Kuro, a drink made using gyu (Japanese for beef) fat and gyokuro (the highest grade of Japanese green tea), to create a highly umami take on a martini – complete with a shio kombu and Japanese cucumber stick garnish.
Smoke & Mirrors
The latest update to this popular rooftop spot at the National Gallery continues to be inspired by the artistry and cultural pazzazz fitting of the building they are in. But for this Volume III edition of The Real Art of Drinking menu, they are moving away from the four walls of the space, instead tapping on various art disciplines – the likes of cinema, music and literature – to serve as wellsprings to draw from and form 12 distinct cocktails.
We love the complex and audacious Let’s Get Inked (S$30), an homage to tattoos as an art form, that’s made using bacon fat-washed bourbon, chilli-infused rum, corn and lime. A Wish (S$32, inspired by Italy’s Trevi Fountain) is the drink to get for a refreshing yet bitter tipple. It’s made of a gin and whisky base plus ingredients like green tea, fermented grapes, and Aperol. The fun part comes with how the drink is served – with a Smoke & Mirrors minted coin meant to be tossed into the fountain in exchange for a wish.
A tongue-in-cheek nod to the most common phrase spouted when asked what profile of cocktail one wants, rum den Sugarhall’s latest menu, amusingly named Not Too Sweet, takes many of our childhood drinks (that are often rather sweet) and turns them into more sophisticated, adult cocktails – much to our delight.
Take the Rose Rosé I Love You (S$23), a tequila-based drink inspired by bandung. The often much-too-sweet rose syrup and milk drink gets a glow up here, drinking almost like rosé wine, but still getting hints of creaminess and balanced with a slight bracing quality. We also love the root beer float inspired Short & Stout (S$25). A rum and cognac based cocktail, it’s made using Sugarhall’s own locally brewed sarsaparilla stout and topped with a yummy dairy-free vanilla foam.
The historic and iconic Raffles Hotel Singapore has appointed new writer-in-residence Madeleine Lee (the venue’s first Singaporean appointment) for Writer’s Bar. Offering a new slate of drinks at the same time that honours literary greats, its vast offerings include five cocktails specially crafted in tandem with Lee’s book of poems, How to Build a Lux Hotel, that’s published as part of her residency.
Each of the five drinks are inspired by her poetry – articulations based on meaningful interactions and observations made during her various stays at the hotel. Try the bubbly Balcon (S$35), a concoction of champagne, gin, absinthe, and lemon soda water that makes for a great first drink to toast with. Or go for the Tiffin & Co (S$35), a stiff yet highly drinkable cocktail made from whisky, lemongrass, lime leaf, gula melaka and gum arabic.
BONUS: Café Kitsuné
Part menu refresh, part series of events dedicated to natural wines (and music), we’ve decided to include Café Kitsuné’s hip and happening Super-Series parties due to how cool they are – plus their selections do change every time. Their upcoming 5 September shindig sees seasoned selector and producer Bongomann helming the decks, alongside a new curation of wines.
Red, white, and orange vino sourced from vineyards hailing from South Africa, France, and Turkey are the stars of the show this time. The smoky and spicy VDF Go Together 2021 is the one adventurous palates should make a beeline for, while the Romuald Valot Anonyme 2020 is a great showcase of how tasty and balanced orange wine can be. If you can’t make it down for this month’s event, look out for their next one coming in November.
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.