Ranked Number 35 on The World's 50 Best Bars 2015, Manhattan (tucked away in the beautiful Regent Singapore) is no stranger to those in the scene. Philip Bischoff (Bar Manager) and Nicholas Trosien (Head Chef) from Manhattan has been working closely with their team of professional to introduce a brand new district to menu - the infamous Midtown West, Hell's Kitchen.
If you're expecting some sort of spit-in-your-face-Gordon-Ramsay-news, you are utterly mistaken. What Hell's Kitchen means for Manhattan is the introduction of five classic craft cocktails and three gourmet bar bites. Hell's Kitchen is well-known for being a mob-dominated neighbourhood as well as the place for striving actors. Replacing the Spanish Harlem on the menu, Manhattanites can also look forward to the beefing up of existing neighbourhoods (Upper East Side, Theater District, Soho and Lower East Side) - more things on the menu!
Hell's Kitchen - What's New?
The first cocktail I sampled from the new Hell's Kitchen menu is the Spectrum Punch (S$22++) which is apparently inspired by a former resident of Hell's Kitchen who is now a famous actor - Sylvester Stallone. Playing the iconic Robert "Rocky" Balboa who fought in Spectrum (an indoor arena), this beverage is crafted with Jamaican rum, house-made falernum, fresh lime, honey and finally topped with fresh berries. Guess what? This cocktail truly packs a punch (yup, just had to do that!).
The second cocktail that I tried (and possibly my favourite if I had to choose) was named after the Irish-American mobsters from the 1900s who were described as the "Mad Dog" assassins. The Mad Dog (S$24++) is made with Greenore 8-year-old Irish whiskey, Ferrand Dry orange curaçao, Luxardo Maraschino, Drambuie, absinthe and bitters. What you'll notice when you get your drink is the aromatic scent of smoked wild cherry bark which is an intoxicating prelude to the powerful concoction. Also, watch out for that beautifully-carved ice!
As a tribute to Mario Puza - famed author of notable mafia novels like the Godfather, the Omerta (S$22++) is made with Luxardo Angioletto hazelnut liqueur, Mina Real mezcal, fresh lemon, sugar and walnut bitters. The clash of flavours within this cocktail reveals a mild tobacco aftertaste that is befitting of its name; a bittersweet tribute to Puzo’s final novel in his mafia trilogy series.
For all you martini-lovers, check out Bar Central (S$24) which is a mixture of Indigenous vodka, Mancino Bianco vermouth, grapefruit and orange bitters. This elegantly presented martini got its name from the well-known speakeasy bar which was the go-to watering hole for Broadway stars. Served in a refill pitcher on ice on the side, this drink is a modern interpretation of the classic vodka martini.
When coffee just doesn't cut it anymore, the Reviver (S$25++) is a delicious concoction of Daron calvados, Carpano Antica Formula vermouth, Ferrand Dry orange curaçao, sugar, bitters, cloves, coffee beans and salt - everything one needs to get that kick in the head. You'll also be able to taste the lingering jalapeño with each sip.
One of the brand new gourmet bar bites from the Hell's Kitchen menu is the Miso Cod Lettuce Wraps (S$20++). Marinated in soy sauce, lemongrass, ginger and Japanese sake, the pan-seared cod fish is placed on top of a butter lettuce cup which cradles a slaw of crisp daikon radish, green papaya, sour mango, red chilli and a homemade fish sauce-based dressing. Top it off with some Korean kimchi for a deliciously good dish!
One of my favourite bar bites is the Mac ‘N’ Cheese (S$15++) - a variation of the all-time American favourite but using Italian penne pasta instead. This dish also topped with delicious shredded duck confit and finally topped with herb bread crumbs.
Finally, a staple in the Northern Ireland chip shops - Pork Pasties (S$18++) are a delicious combination of minced pork, potato and spices. Battered in Manhattan’s signature Knickerbocker beerand deep-fried until a crusty gold, bite into a soft centre quail egg and relish the flavoursfrom the green pea purée with Irish Whiskey cream sauce and fried carrot chips – also a fun play on the colours of the Irish flag.