Finally the long awaited menu revamp at one of my favourite bars, Manhattan at the Regent Singapore. Since their founding more than two years ago, the “Soho” menu has been the sole mainstay of the bar, so the new “Harlem” menu, co-produced by Bar Manager Philip Bischoff and Head Chef Nicholas Trosien is definitely a refreshing change.
The Bar needs no introduction as it was awarded the Top 10 Best International Hotel Bar in last year’s Tales of the Cocktails Spirited Award. I have never been to Harlem myself but the borough conjures up an image of free spirit, jazz and swing from its African American population of diverse roots.
As usual here at Manhattan, we were expecting to see the playfulness and creative streaks from the bar team and boy we were already impressed by the Lenox ($23), a Koko Kanu Rum and Espresso liqueur based concoction with Alipus Baltazar Mezcal, pineapple, lime, homemade Grenadine, egg white and peach bitters. It was a bang! I like my cocktails spicy complex and refreshing at the same time. Those collision of flavours were all on point and the alcohol sets in beautifully. And by paying tribute to the famed Lenox Lounge in the heart of Harlem where stars like Billie Holiday, Miles Davis and John Coltrane are born, this one is already very special to me.
The Red Rooster ($24) was the most potent of the lot. Glad this came in as my second round. Yet again, Manhattan named this as an ode to restauranteur Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster restaurant in Harlem, which is known for the revival of Native American cuisine and the diverse culinary traditions of the borough. Neither shaken nor stirred, while an contrasting mix with a relatively light sapidity, I can imagine this strong brew to require the patron to have an acquired taste.
I also enjoyed the Barber Shop ($23) which was probably the prettiest and nicest of the lot. The whisky-rasberry liqueur based drink came with an eye catching red and white barber pole straw in a conical flask encased in another with ice, and was meant to represent the many Barber Shops and beauty salons synonymous with Harlem’s community. The other components of ginger beer, hibiscus syrup, cucumber, mint leaves and lime juice formed a perfect harmony.
While the new drinks kept me excited, the Bar Bites were not sloppy either. The Southern Cornbread ($10), borrowed from Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster restaurant took on such an unusual spin with barrel aged maple peacan butter and savoury Pimento cheese that it look like a cross between a scone and a pouding chomeur. Baked to order and served piping hot, the way I like my fresh pastries done albeit I would much prefer a less dense Cornbread made with lesser cornflour.
Most chicken/ duck and waffles are detached from each other, but Head Chef Nicholas Trosien managed to do a “deconstructed” version of the Chicken & Waffle ($18), which was a brilliant creation by integrating the fried drumstick into a corner of the waffle to complete it. With perfect proportion of more chicken, less waffle, and bringing the two closer, this improvisation provided much more delight.
Likewise for our sweets we were treated to a similar gratifying Banana Cream Cookies ($12). With a modern and finer reinterpretation of the traditional Southern American desert, this one had thick luscious banana cream and chocolate sandwiched between gold dusted waffles . Once a poor man’s dish, this was a mastery combination of opulence and definitely a luxury to have.
And just a tip, don’t forget those magical green cheeseballs (off-menu, price unavailable)
Manhattan Bar, Regent Hotel Singapore
1 Cuscaden Road Regent Singapore Level 2 Singapore 249715
Tel: +65 6275 3377
Operating Hours: 5pm to 1am
Violet Hour 5pm to 7pm (Mon to Fri)
The above article is written by Guest Writer @ramenking2016. You can find him on instagram where he shares his love for food and travel.