Club Kyo

Singapore has been picking up on the trend where a dinner spot makes the transition into a club as it gets later into the night. So that diners don’t have to change venues if they’re looking to party after dinner. Drinks are kept flowing during dinner to keep energy high, as music gets louder through the night. It’s a great concept, my main gripe being that it gets expensive. Many such establishments are high-end, targeting the affluent.

We checked out one such establishment, Club Kyo, for this experience. It is located in the basement of one of the oldest, most nondescript buildings in Raffles Place – you’d never guess that kyo was there. For being labelled the newest ‘it’ club about town, Kyo was quiet when we visited on Wednesday night at 7.30pm. By quiet, I mean we were literally the only people in the house. None of the ‘party’ ambience one would expect at a resto-club. Disappointing.

The grub at Kyo is modern Japanese, tapas-style/portions for sharing. Some hits and misses, but the quality of ingredients and novelty in some dishes were remarkable.

Salmon and Tuna Tartare ($24) – Avocado-wasabi-tuna-salmon tartare coated with roasted sesame and topped with wasabi sprouts.

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Kimchi-BBQ Pork Belly Slider ($16). Definitely order this.IMG_0041

Hokkaido scallop slices in spicy coconut and mango foam, topped with Julienne veggie salad. ($18) Kinda fishy.

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Chipotle-Tuna Crispy Ball ($16). Not a fan of the rice ball.

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Soy marinated salmon roll ($18) – soy marinated salmon asparagus, chives, shallots, tempura flakes and wasabi mayo. Average.

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Prawn Ravioli in Sake Butter ($16). Probably my fav dish of the meal.

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See below for the cocktail list. Shockingly I did not order anything from here. I was drawn to the butterscotch sidecar, because sidecars are my go-to classic cocktail and very few places do sidecars. But the price ($25) turned me off. I had a normal bourbon-coke instead. Otherwise the cocktails do look interesting and very Japanese-influenced.

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Since we were the only table at Kyo, there were 10 waiters hovering around us at all times. A handful were European and could barely understand/ speak English through the thick accents. Major communication breakdown here, and so we found them proactive but very incompetent. The last straw for me was when one did not know how to operate my foolproof point-and-shoot digital camera. I almost steamed.

The music was also questionable, though it was arguably still very early. My friend commented that the DJ was transporting us around the world, with a spanish song one minute, an english pop song the next, and suddenly throw in an oriental tune. Hmm.

In the end, we left to party at another venue. So this dinner-to-party at a resto-club thing was an epic fail.

Some tips on kyo: They have a 25% promotion for selected food items from now until 31 July. Book your tables now! I would suggest dining on a Thursday, because there’s free flow vodka cranberry for ladies between 10pm-1am on that night. Try to have a late dinner, about 9pm – hopefully the place is a bit more happening by then.

133 cecil street, keck seng tower
#B1-02, singapore 069535
reservations@clubkyo.com or call 6222 5001
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Infinite Bar List: The Vintage Room

The Vintage Room is a charming little place at Duxton Hill; embodying 1920s old world glamour, think Tom Buchannan and his mistress at their apartment. Red walls with vintage golden furniture, dainty ornaments as details, plenty well-lit by warm lights. This actually looks more like a high-tea place for taitais to converge than a watering hole. Very unlike any other bars we’ve been to.

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While the décor is positively feminine, the drinks are not. The Vintage Room puts emphasis on their vintage wine/ champagne collection – sourced from all over the world. You can order by the glass, or per bottle.

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We decided to go for cocktails instead. It was a short but decent list (about 8 variations), enough for each of us to find something to our liking. We stuck to the classics – old fashioned and negroni ($15 each). Maybe it’s because I wasn’t expecting much, in my mind I wrote it off as just another pretty bar. But my old fashioned was a great kick. My friend was equally lovin’ her negroni. The next round, I opted for a house recipe which didn’t fare that well. So I’d stick to the classics next time.

I would revisit this place with girlfriends for a catch-up session. It’s a nice place for photo-ops when you’re all dressed up.

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Here’s one of us:

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37 Duxton Hill
66907565

Tue – Thu: 17:00 – 00:00
Fri: 15:00 – 01:00
Sat: 17:00 – 01:00

*All pictures were taken from The Vintage Room Facebook page.

Infinite Bar List: City Space

Located at the Equinox complex at Swissotel, you are guaranteed spectacular sights here. Unfortunately I visited during the hazy weather period and was unable to witness the glory of it at full potential. But even so, the glittering city lights were bright enough for us to enjoy panoramic views of the skyline. Singapore is a beautiful city especially at night, we should sit back to really soak it in and appreciate it more often. City Space is the perfect place to do so with its floor-to-ceiling glass windows, minimizing any obstructions to your view.

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What sets it apart from New Asia Bar, which is just upstairs, I think, is that it is a quiet place to unwind. It’s literally how you would imagine a hotel bar to be. There’s a grand piano in the room, jazz music plays in the background, and the seats are typical hotel leather armchairs. New Asia Bar on the other hand is targeted at party people. The vibe is more pumped up and there’s a dancefloor. I would choose New Asia Bar to pop a bottle of champagne, but I’ll patronize City Space if I wanted a cocktail.

Their cocktail menu is impressive. Choose from an extensive list, there are 5 pages of cocktails, and the full drink menu is a whopping 22 pages. Ranging from classic cocktails to creative mixtures, to wine, beer, and any bottle you can think of.

Enlisting the help of expert mixologists, it’s one of the best hotel bars in Singapore. Their citrus juices are pressed by hand, mint from their herb garden and syrups are made in-house. Ice cubes are double frozen to ensure a cooler, crisper drink.

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I ordered a classic cocktail – the pisco sour (on the left in the above picture), which originated from Peru by the way. It contains BarSol Pisco shaken till frothy with lime and a touch of sugar and egg white, topped with a dash of Aromatic Bitters. There is also an added passionfruit for extra fruitiness as done by locals in Peru. If anything I felt that the passionfruit overwhelmed the drink. There is an option to go without the passionfruit, so I would advise you to opt out of it if you do decide to go for a Pisco Sour.

GT ordered an Amber Tiger – Yamazaki 12 years and Lychee Liqueur with a hint of Cinnamon and Vanilla syrup, home pressed lemon juice topped with Tiger Beer Espuma and ginger ale Caviar. This drink was absolute bliss. I have a weakness for sour drinks it’s true, but this was so delicious. GT gave the whole glass to me halfway because you know, he’s such a great boyfriend 😉

Try to visit during happy hour between 5-8pm because the cocktails then are $15, compared to $22 otherwise. It’s a very quiet place, and service is attentive. I find it an ideal place for dates because it is quiet and romantic with a good view to boot. Note that for window seats there is a minimum spend of $60.

Oh and how can I forget, they serve the best complimentary bar snacks ever. Period. Golden pillows and two different flavoured nacho chips. I think we ended up eating more than we were drinking.

Do drop by if you are in the area, and I strongly recommend this place for dates. It’s out of the box and you won’t find any hipsters here.

2 Stamford Road
70F Swissotel The Stamford
Tel: +65 6837 3322
Sun to Thu: 5pm–1am
Fri & Sat: 5pm–2am

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Infinite Bar List: Jigger & Pony

This weekend marked my second time at Jigger & Pony. It is already among my Top 3 Best Bars in Singapore. That’s just a list in my head by the way, in case you’re wondering why I bolded the text and whether the link is broken.

A visit at 11.30pm saw the place packed and loud. Not so much the music, but people were in exceptionally high spirits. Many were in big groups, which is unusual for bars in Singapore. Big groups here prefer to hit the clubs. But Jigger seems group-friendly with their booth seats and communal tables. There was a party of 12 or so comfortably seated at their ‘mafia’ table out back.

Anyway, we squeezed to sit on some bar stools facing the wall and they very promptly served us iced water and spicy tapioca chips. The chips were generously refilled 3 or 4 times through the night. Very attentive service!

Technical perfection with subtle showmanship are key ingredients in Jigger & Pony’s elixirs. All juices and syrups are homemade, and the hand carved ice is made from filtered water for clarity for minimal impact on the purity of the cocktail. Jigger & Pony features a total of 24 selections, segmented into three categories: Classics, Vintage, and Signature. New cocktails are introduced to the menu on a seasonal basis.

Instead of fancy cocktail concoctions popular at many bars nowadays, Jigger serves up more classic cocktails such as the vesper, old fashioned, etc. It feels like taking a step back into a different era with the endless classic/ vintage cocktail selections. If you think this concept is uncreative, take a sip and all is forgiven. They are definitely heavy handed when it comes to pouring.

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Some drinks really took us by surprise, for being so good. My New York Sour, which is a stylish twist to the classic Whisky Sour – contained rye whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup and a float of red wine. One of the best cocktails I’ve ever had.

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Fans of gin have to try their Gimlet – gin, lime juice and sugar syrup. We can’t pinpoint what it is but everything is better at Jigger.

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Airmail – White rum, lime juice, honey syrup and sparkling wine. The cucumber slice they dropped in also transferred a lot of flavour to the drink.

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Kinship – I am quite ‘uncle’ when it comes to alcohol taste so I chose this mix of Remy Martin VSOP, Antica Formula, Grand Marnier and toasted cinammon. This drink is no joke, not for the weak.

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Old Pal – Rye whiskey, dry vermouth, campari. Camapri lent it quite an edge which I didn’t particularly like because it was very sharp.

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Churchill – Sir Winston Churchill scotch whisky, sweet vermouth, Cointreau and lime juice. I was surprised by how well the Cointreau sat in this cocktail. A very faultless, simple drink. You can’t go wrong with this.

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By about 1am the crowds dispersed and some booths freed up, so we shifted seats and got comfortable on the cushions. We weren’t quite ready to leave and decided to get a sharing portion cocktail.

I know many places have cocktails in jugs/ whatever for sharing. But the punch bowls at Jigger are not to be trifled with. They are up to 15-20 servings each. Even the waitress was like, “Are you sure? The bowl is kind of big.” But hey, we are ballers. We ordered a red wine sangria, which of course is not just regular sangria. It was less fruity and they mixed vodka in it. If you’re a fan of red wine this is PERFECT for you. The taste of red wine is very strong in this.

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We took 1.5 hours to finish the punch bowl. At 3am they closed so we sadly had to leave… to our next party destination! Overall we had an extremely enjoyable experience at Jigger. As with all other bars, it’s never cheap to drink outside. The price tag came close to $400. Each cocktail was $20 (reasonable), and the punch bowl was $210. But it’s worth it because the vibe is unpretentious yet posh and undoubtedly very adult and mature.

Jigger & Pony pride themselves on their bartending skills, frequently holding bartending workshops and seminars on their premises. Sometimes they host award-winning bartenders as well. They are currently setting their sights on being the Top 50 Best Bars in the world. Especially after recently hiring Mr Akihiro Eguchi, two-time winner of Diaego Reserve World Class Singapore. Founder Guo YI was an ex SIA stewardess and set up Jigger with her Indonesian boyfriend, and can often be seen behind the bar.

101 Amoy Street
62239101

The tasters:

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