Infinite Bar List: Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall

Everytime I bring up Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall with friends, their reaction is most probably “uh we’re at newton, can’t we just drink at muthu’s cold drink stall” *points at stall number 48 at newton food centre*. The name throws people off a bit, sounds like somewhere tiger aunties would roam, or maybe wher you’d order a milo dinosaur. So it’s a pretty cool idea for a bar name. Creative, tongue in cheek, kind of fun.

20131123-182922.jpg

I think they have a very interesting concept going, and if they had invested a bit more in their appearance, ah sam could go a really long way, especially with hipsters. Currently the tables and stools are kind of restaurant style seating, very basic tables and chairs. But if they can maybe install those small tables with attached benches that you get in hawker centres, it would really highlight their whole local coffee shop drink stall concept. Maybe put those little table numbers on the tables too. This way the bar would be serious eye candy and instagram candy too.

20131123-183123.jpg

Drinks are all classic cocktails. Which is cool because it’s an old world selection of drinks in a hip/hipster bar. They’ll come over and ask you what you want without even giving you a menu. When you ask for a menu they will say something so hipster and pretentious that I just LOLed. “We don’t have menus, but we have references.” Ok big boy. So they call their menus: references.

I pretty much know what I want, got my all time favourite cocktail Side Car. And a whisky sour. And switched things up a bit with a Paper Plane. They were all faultless but most remarkably their Sidecar is one of the best I’ve tasted in Singapore so it really is a must order, and a repeat order for me.

Will I go back…? I would if I’m craving a sidecar, god knows they make a mean one. They really got their drinks going for them. Ah Sam is one of those bars that have real substance. They keep you hooked not because of their gimmicks, but simply because the drinks are that good.

There is potential to grow if they make some tweaks to their design, which would attract hipsters and a bigger crowd of curious cats. And then rope them in further with their kick ass drinks.

Paper Plane (Redemption Bourbon, Aperol Amaro, Lemon Juice)
20131123-183047.jpg

Whisky Sour
20131123-183056.jpg

Side Car (Remy Martin VSOP, Cointreau, Lemon Juice)
20131123-183109.jpg

Advertisements

The Flying Squirrel @ Amoy St

The Flying Squirrel is addressed along Amoy Street – but it’s actually on a narrow cul-de-sac off Amoy. Sharp eyes needed to spot the signage directing you to the café. It literally is a hole in the fucking wall.

(I shall take this chance to add that when we turned into this slip road, a wild woman appeared and asked us to take her #ootd from the side. I wanted to ask her if she wanted me to follow her instagram and help her like her photos too. I’m all for #ootds but wow I don’t know whether to envy her courage for asking strangers or laugh at her shamelessness. Plus her friends actually came later so not sure why she wouldn’t ask them…?)

So once you walk into TFS it’s cool and all but “is this it?”. Tiny place with 5 tables and the rest are counter seats. On a Friday night it was fully booked and this is about a year after opening? I would say they’re doing quite well. We were given a counter seat that we had to give up in 1.5 hours because the guests would be coming then. It’s a very simple café so I don’t think they spent a bomb on décor, the bar stools were slightly shaky and too small for my butt. 😦

20131116-050003.jpg

I think the thing about TFS is from the name you could never tell that it is a Japanese place. And neither do they claim to be a Japanese place. So when they serve you your Japanese food it might not be with the utmost precision and skill – just Singaporeans working there anyway – but it should be noted that ingredients were fresh and everything was delicious. It just lacks a certain authenticity of Japanese dining. If you’re looking for authentic Jap food don’t come here, but if you don’t mind casual drinks and jap nibbles then by all means.

20131116-050016.jpg

We had the Truffle Fry Ebi. Couldn’t taste much truffle but it’s hot, crispy and golden brown. Good starter especially with beer. It’s not tempura by the way, just breaded ebi.

20131116-050026.jpg

TFS Signature Maki, now isn’t this impressive. 6 pieces of their best curation. There’s crabmeat with caviar, unagi, fish roe, sweet shrimp with uni, scallop and avocado, spicy salmon belly. As I said before, it’s not your classic authentic Jap fare, but A for creativity and taste. Execution might be slightly poor because my maki wasn’t rolled properly. For $20 I think it is also quite value for money. Especially since we had uni and the scallop thrown in.

20131116-050039.jpg

20131116-050050.jpg

Negi-toro tataki with uni ($18). Ha ha. Finished this in a spoonful. Really good though.

20131116-050101.jpg

It seemed little when we ordered but we were a good level of full when we finished. Could be the beer talking though…

Definitely don’t regret coming here. Great place and vibe. Spent about $75 for 2.

Address
#01-02, 92 Amoy Street
Phone
62262203

Infinite Bar List: Black Swan

Black Swan is a 1920’s inspired space by the ever visionary Lo & Behold Group. I was expecting it to be pretentious and lacking in substance. Like wannabe-Gatsby and more design-focused than quality-focused. I’m happy to report I have been proven wrong.

Firstly I was pleasantly surprised when I stepped into their massive 2-storey space, that the dining room was well-lit. (I have issues with dim restaurants.) It was almost full with merrymakers wining and dining. Big groups of friends seemed to be the main demographic for the night. Which I believe is ideal company to visit Black Swan with, to share the good food and drinks together. It’s more of a merry place than romantic place.

I took a seat at the visually arresting bar while waiting for my friend to arrive. It was so classy, and beautiful, yet the quote at the top of the bar gave it a cheeky twist. “Here’s to the rose-coloured glasses of life.” It’s very seldom you find a bar in Singapore that feels like those in Crazy Stupid Love, or Lost in Translation. In Singapore it’s usually either hipster or boring.

We proceeded upstairs to The Powder Room. No, not the toilet. Their drinking lounge is aka The Powder Room. 9pm on a Saturday night. Empty! We were the only ones there. When we left at 1am it was STILL empty. How happening lol. It didn’t matter to us but it might to some people. Also, while the Powder Room is comfortable, I would suggest sitting at the dining room downstairs because it is brighter, music less loud, and more crowded/better ambience.

OK are you ready for the drinks ….. Everything looked so damn good so… we ordered one of everything save for the pisco cocktail. Many of the drinks here are whisky/bourbon based so it became my heaven for a few hours. My kind of cocktail bar!

Golden Parachute ($19). A smooth 15 year old single malt whisky stirred with fragrant vanilla bean, pure maple syrup and livened with mandarin zest.

Escape to Amalfi ($19). Fine bubbled prosecco excited with vodka and topped with a refreshing sorbet of organic lemons from Italy’s Amalfi coast.IMG_6001

Half Dozen Escargot ($21) seasoned with bone marrow, brandy, parmesan, garlic, parsley. Bone marrow and brandy enticed us to order this. It is very unlike the common garlic/herb escargots. This tasted very buttery and creamy.IMG_6005

Silver Lining ($19). A velvety combination of Amaretto and peaches shaken with egg white and garnished with a sprig of fresh rosemary.

Moral Hazard ($19). A bold take on the Old Fashioned, crafted with apricotinfused 15 year old bourbon, honey water and refreshed with orange zest.IMG_6008

Cecil Sour ($19). 15 year old single malt shaken with vanilla, mandarin peel and egg white.IMG_6011

Cajun Cut Fries ($9). Staple bar food.

I shall not review each cocktail but give a general view that all are good cocktails and reasonably priced. Not super strong but decent enough that I would not complain.IMG_6015

http://www.theblackswan.com.sg/
19 Cecil Street

Immigrants Gastro Bar

I suppose most people come here for drinks. The tables are mostly high tabletops with bar stools, and the menu is 3/4 comprised of the drinks list – very extensive and eclectic mix of beer, wines and cocktails. (We ordered the KONINGSHOEVEN LA TRAPPE WIT [$12], I think it was happy hour so we got 20% off on top of that. Quite reasonable!)

But anyway, drinks were just a bonus. We had come for the food. The cuisine is local/ peranakan/ heritage; what Singaporeans used to eat a long time ago.

One thought came to mind – this might be local food but it’s actually uncommon and hard to find around town unless you cook it yourself. Funny how it takes a modern gastro bar to bring local food to the public.

IMG_5967

Prepare to drool: the below dishes came highly recommended by the very friendly guy/manager/spokesperson/talker/person who really took care of our needs during our visit to Immigrants. He was friendly, funny, attentive, yet not intrusive. Very personable guy who went around every table making sure everyone felt at home. He made our experience there a lot more memorable with his personal touch, otherwise it would have been just another dinner. Good service is extremely important in the F&B industry for retaining customers.

Babi Assam (Belly Pork slowly braised with tamarind, cinnamon, star anise and rock sugar till meltingly soft. $18) This was really good but oh my so sinful because I ate all the fat! I just couldn’t resist.

IMG_5955

I believe the below Singgang [$14] is one of their signature dishes. It is deboned wolf herring cooked in spices and coconut milk, served with cucumber sticks. It works great as a starter, or accompanied over rice. I was afraid that it might be too fishy, as with all seafood that’s not fresh/ properly cooked. But the doneness proved the standard of the other dishes to come. Very good.

IMG_5956

Sweet Potato Leaves Masak Lemak ($15) – not your usual zichar style. This was cooked in chillies, shrimp paste, coconut milk, candlenut and shallots. The prawns were a great addition. Really a top notch veggie dish. A burst of flavour.

IMG_5957

Sambal Buah Keluak Fried Rice ($20) – quite small for $20. But this dish does get a bit too rich so anymore would have been too much. Best shared among friends. It also does not go very well with the other dishes. So I would recommend giving this a miss and having some white rice instead. The flavour of this was spicy and salty. There’s no meat in this dish.

IMG_5959

Beef cheek rendang ($30), even though we knew we would be over ordering, the thought of using beef cheek in rendang was too tantalising to give up. It was so tender and soft. It’s a really big portion by the way, be warned!

IMG_5961

 

We were so full from this. The thing about this cuisine is that the food is very heavy. So mind how much you order. We all felt like puking after our pig out session.

IMG_5966

As you can tell, prices are rather steep for Asian cuisine. We paid $56 per person. But the experience there was casual and enjoyable. And the food was super authentic and well done.

If you are thinking of heading down, today would be a really good day to do so! Immigrants is celebrating their anniversary tonight, and for $50 per head, you get free flow food, beer, wine and drinks. Don’t miss it if you are in the area!

467 Joo Chiat Rd 427678
8511 7322