Can quintessential Singaporean eats like laksa, nasi lemak and orh luah pair well with a Negroni, Merlot or Balvenie 17?
Putting that question to bed is newly opened Yum Sing, a ‘60s themed bar, restaurant and entertainment spot at Singapore’s central nightlife zone of Clarke Quay.
It’s one place that doesn’t treat local food pairings with wine and cocktails like a novelty, but something that simply is. A venture by Putien, that’s known for their Chinese cuisine, this bar-focused concept is a big departure for the dining group. And we’re glad it’s happened.
Entering the space immediately transports you back to a time in Singapore when things were much simpler. The only entertainment happened on physical stages, the grocery store sold all your daily needs, and the food and drink are comforting and hearty. Nothing is fancy, because that’s not needed to have a great time.
But of course, our palates have changed since the ‘60s. More intensity in flavour is appreciated, and complexity and layers are now favoured. So while the menu isn’t authentic to the times past, that’s a good thing for today’s patrons.
Find four signature cocktails offered here. There’s the iconic Singapore Sling (S$20), made better using fresh juices and a blend of spirits (we’re guessing more than one gin is used). But why not go for the Yum Sling (S$18) instead, a more refreshing rendition of the classic thanks to use of fresh coconut and old ginger, and best had on a hot day.
Our favourite is the Kopi-O Gao (S$20), served like an Old Fashioned (but actually a twist on the Espresso Martini) and made using local distillery Compendium’s truly unique Kopi-O Liqueur. It’s a bold drink, made for sipping, and is sweet and robust like the eponymous drink ubiquitous at any coffee shop in Singapore.
Then have your kopi with a Kaya Toast Set (S$18), that’s actually a cocktail made with Kaya-infused rum, and served on-point with an actual piece of toast garnish. It’s the breakfast of champions, as they say.
If you’re not feeling adventurous, there are classic cocktails on the menu, the likes of Negroni, Lychee Martini, Cosmopolitan, Gin Fizz and more. All S$15, the prices here are hard to beat, especially by Singapore standards.
It’s nice that there are wines on the menu too, with labels like Cloudy Bay and Casillero Del Diablo available, among others. Or just bust out the credit card for a Balvenie 17 or Maker’s Mark – your choice.
But come for the food too. The dining menu will be familiar to any Singaporean. Small sharing plates like salted egg fish skin (S$8), satay (S$10) and sambal sotong ($12) are great as bar snacks, while mains like chicken rice, hokkien mee and bak kut teh all go for just S$10. Given the location in the downtown area, prices are reasonable.
There’s chilli and black pepper crab (S$78 each) too for those looking for a bigger feast. And if you’re so inclined, there’s yu sheng (aka lo hei, aka Chinese toss salad; S$6.80 per person) available here all-day everyday, not just during the Chinese New Year period as is customary.
On your way out, don’t forget to pick something from the retail boutique. Designed to look like a traditional provision shop, grab snacks, knick knacks, or even a bottle of Rojak Gin by Compendium.
Every day’s a celebration here, where one can be contented and delighted by the simple things in life.
Yum Sing is located at 3 River Valley Road, #01-06/07 Clarke Quay, Block B, Singapore 179021.
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.