Nutmeg & Clove
17 Ann Siang Road
First impressions: Modern Chinese, trendy, city crowd.
The Chosen One: The sweet, strong and terribly more-ish Singapura Sling ($20) includes spiced, hibiscus-infused London dry gin, cherry Heering, Bénédictine DOM, goji and red date syrup, and a mix of orange cream citrate and old time aromatic bitters. It’s aged in a barrel for two weeks, then served in a Chinese cup and placed in a little wicker rickshaw lined with monkey nuts. If you have friends in town, this is the place to bring them for a sling; not only is their concoction far better (and cheaper) than the other place that famously sells them, but it’s wonderfully quirky – and you still get to throw nuts around.
The Cheapskate: Draught Kirin goes for $10 per glass; wine starts at $11.
Bite on this: The Atlantic codfish croquettes ($12), with smoked cream cheese, crispy anchovies and smoked vinegar powder, are a must-try. But be warned, you’ll probably fight over these six little bundles of deliciousness, so order two plates.
Last but not least: This is a local place with local flavours – you’d be forgiven for walking past as the name is written in Chinese over the door. Ann Siang used to be a nutmeg and clove plantation, so many of the drinks here use these spices as well as others typically found in Southeast Asia. The menu is divided into four eras – Trading Post, Crown Colony, Sovereign State and Metropolis – signifying the changes that the country has been through over the years. The drinks in each of the eras are based on beverages that were popular at the time. Head bartender and resident mixologist, Kai, from Taiwan, came third in the world in the Best Bartender competition, and was judged best in Asia Pacific. The man is a wizard.