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Bar Review: Kinki, Marmalade Pantry, Prelude and Praelum

A bowl of nuts and a basket of reheated fries just won’t cut it when you’re sipping a premium ginger kumquat caipirinha. Here are five places that serve excellent drinks and bar bites to boot.     

A wicked Japanese feel at popular hang out Kinki 

Kinki

70 Collyer Quay, #02-02 Customs House

6533 3471 | kinki.com.sg

A favourite of the CBD after-work scene, this rooftop bar offers panoramic views of Marina Bay Sands, speciality cocktails and Japanese bites so light you’ll still have room for a late dinner. But we know what you are thinking – sushi… at a bar? Normally, we wouldn’t think of raw food being a part of pub grub either, but here it’s from the reputable restaurant below, where plates of skewered spicy miso meatballs and temaki bites – a set of three handrolls filled with crab, spicy tuna and king salmon – fly out the door towards the tables of hungry bar-goers above. The Kinko nachos, a plate of black pepper beef, guacamole and sour cream served up on noririce crackers, is what keeps the crowds coming back for more – it’s a fabulous take on the Tex-Mex favourite. Pair it with a colourfully thick Mango Mint, a drink of vodka and kiwi and mango puree, or spice up the evening with the Hokkaido Plummet, a vodka, umeshu, spiced syrup and peppermint concoction (both $18). Reservations are recommended, especially from Wednesday to Friday.

Mmmmmm, tasty tomatoes are the lynch pin in this fresh and healthy salad 

Marmalade Pantry at the Stables

55 Fairways Drive

6467 9328 | themarmaladepantry.com.sg

No longer the domain of horsey types, this unassuming venue next to a riding school and stables is like an escape to the countryside. It’s only five minutes off the PIE, but it feels like another world as you settle into comfortable outdoor seating ringed by greenery. The draft beer is Kronenberg, but there’s also bottled beer and a selection of Bellinis, martinis and muddles starting from $16. The house white is a reliable Australian sauvignon blanc  at a reasonable $65 a bottle. Munch on homemade dips, cashew hummus with oven-fresh bread and seared haloumi on flavoursome roma tomatoes. There’s a full menu of substantial fare – like beef burgers with truffle fries – to satisfy bigger appetites.

The view from Prelude is worth the visit alone 

Prelude

3 Fullerton Road

6538 9038 | boathouse.com.sg

Its prime riverside location in a nearly century-old building make this rooftop bar popular among groups who come to break bread over charcuterie plates and the popular 510 platter – a selection of mini-burgers, buffalo wings, California garlic fries and potato skins. The kitchen pops out individual and sharing portions of pizza – we’re talking 21-inches for the latter – with toppings like porcini mushrooms, artichokes, Parma ham and scallops. An impressive selection of muddled drinks with fresh ingredients is available for a reasonable $15 each – we’re convinced the Bee’s Knees, a combination of gin, mint, organic honey and lemon, is actually good for us. Heineken and Erdinger are on tap, but the bucket promotions – buy five, get one free – of craft beers by Japanese microbrewery Baird Brewing Company are popular, too. Arrive before 8pm any day but Sunday, and the bartender will top up your half-pint beer order to a full pint at no extra charge.

Praelum

4 Duxton Hill

6238 5287 | praelum.com.sg

This Duxton Hill wine bar is one of very few in Singapore that employ the very handy serve-yourself system: insert your credit card, choose a wine, select your size – taste, half-glass or full glass – and off you go. The selection is a mix of whites and reds from New and Old World regions with price points to match – tasters start at $2.10 while a glass of the top-billed option can set you back a few hundred. The food shares the wine’s global reach – escargots and baked or breaded brie are listed with sashimi, chorizo rolls and five-spice calamari. We’re partial to the tarte flambée, or thin-style Alsatian pizza, which we’re told has the stamp of approval from the Alsatian woman who works upstairs. 

Tree Bar (closed)

148 Neil Road

6222 2119 | thegardenofedenrestaurant.com

If you’re not paying attention, you’ll walk right by this new restaurant and bar – even if you’re looking for it. Housed in a conservation shophouse in the very trendy Bukit Pasoh neighbourhood, Tree Bar’s low-key exterior gives way to an edgy interior with black chandeliers and an experimental cocktail bar stocked with homemade infusions and plenty of fresh fruit. Owner, 28-year-old Brit Tim Ross-Watson, likes to personalise drinks for customers, but the less daring can take comfort in the existence of a written drinks menu. The food from the onsite restaurant, Garden of Eden, also takes a tip from Tim’s heritage – fish and chips ($28) and pork scratchings with an aerated Worcestershire yoghurt sauce ($9), but items like jamón ($18) and foie gras cornettos ($4 each) are available, too. Most dishes are gluten-free and the soups are mostly non-dairy, but they serve a proper Sunday roast from 12pm to 2.30pm on the weekend.

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