By: Cherylene Chan
2 Bukit Pasoh Road
First impressions: The cosy Ginza-style bar exudes a masculine yet refined air, with sleek metal lampshades, plush leather armchairs and a solid teak bar. A mini-boutique at the front sells various handmade Japanese wares – from copper snack dishes to tin tea caddies – that are used in the bar itself.
The Chosen One: The French Connection ($33), a simple yet memorable blend of Armagnac, amaretto and chocolate bitters served with a perfectly square, crystal-clear ice cube (the bar staff cuts each one by hand). Popular as a nightcap, it’s warming, fragrant and brings out the sweeter notes in the spirits.
The Not-so-cheapskate: Truth be told, cheap pours aren’t to be expected at a bar that takes pride in high-end liquor and a sophisticated air of exclusivity. And rightly so – head bartender Daiki Kanetaka has cherry-picked every single element to heighten the experience, from the tasteful jazz playlist to the glassware that sets each bespoke cocktail (from $27) apart. That said, D.Bespoke has a minimum spend of $60 per person.
Bite on this: Cocktails are served with a complimentary dish of nibbles like dried cherry tomatoes, dehydrated kiwis and roasted almonds. For a more substantial snack, try the cold cut platter (from $30) – laden with freshly carved jamón Ibérico de Bellota and salami – or an artisanal cheese platter ($30).
Last but not least: This handsome hideout is best for serious drink disciples looking to quietly appreciate their tipple, or those after an eye-opening experience. Aside from being a cocktail maestro, Kanetaka is also a sherry venenciador (a certified “sommelier” of sorts) and keeps a hefty collection of lesser-known bottles. Ask for a tasting flight ($25 for three glasses) to watch him ceremoniously “pull” the sherry into a glass – a time-tested ritual that enhances its flavour.