Tucked away quietly in Regent Singapore, Manhattan is one of Singapore's best bars (it ranks amongst the world's top 50 bars too!) and as much as I wish to keep it a secret, it has to be shared. When I checked out the Hell's Kitchen district last year, I fell in love with the smokey Mad Dog (S$24++) . As such, when I got invited by the kind folks at Manhattan to try out the brand new Harlem district (read: menu), I knew I had to bring my drinking liver.
The Bar Manager Philip Bischoff and Head Chef Nicholas Trosien of Manhattan has revealed a new menu that focuses on Harlem, which is in the north of New York's Manhattan borough. In this brand new district, you will find five different takes on classic handcrafted cocktails as well as four new gourmet bar bites that draw influences from the prevalence of African-American culture. The introduction of Harlem will also see the departure of SoHo on the menu.
The first drink that I sampled from the Harlem menu was the Lenox (S$23++) that was made with Alipús Baltazar Mezcal, Koko Kanu Rum, Luxardo Espresso Liqueur, Pineapple, Lime, House-made Grenadine, Egg White and Peach Bitters. The drink which was inspired by the Lenox Lounge in the heart of Harlem plays tribute to iconic jazz artistes like Billie Holiday and Miles Davis.
With orange peel that resembles the comb of a rooster, the Red Rooster (S$24++) is made with House-made Barrel Aged Applejack, St. Germain and Luxardo Sangue Morlacco. While the Red Rooster name reminds me of a fast-food chain in Australia, this drink was actually named after the Ethiopian-born and Swedish-raised chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster restaurant in Harlem - sometimes known for the revival of native American cuisine and the diverse culinary traditions of the neighbourhood.
For Whisky-lovers, you have to try the Barber Shop (S$23++) which combines a sizeable amount of Bowmore 12Y Whisky, St. George Raspberry Liqueur, Hibiscus Syrup, Lime Juice, Cucumber, Mint Leaves and Ginger Beer. Set to resemble the iconic red and white barber pole, the Barber Shop is reminiscent of Harlem’s local hangouts and its community that fostered relationships in the many beauty salons and barbershops that lined the streets.
One of the most popular drinks from the evening was the Globetrotter (S$22++) which is made with Ferrand Cognac, Fresh Lemon, Ferrand Dry Curaçao, Simple Syrup and Knickbocker Beer Foam. This drink is inspired by the legendary exhibition basketball team Harlem Globetrotters which explains the accompaniment of a side of delicious pretzels.
Finally, my favourite beverage of the night, the Gin & Juice (S$24++). This drink is a tribute to Snoop Dogg's "Gin and Juice" single in his debut album Doggystyle and the cocktail even adds a unique golden dog spray for that complete finish. Made with Tanqueray No. Ten Gin, Pink Grapefruit Juice, Maraschino, Simple Syrup, Sea Salt, Egg White and Champagne, this is one deadly cocktail to check out for gin-lovers!
A visit to one of Singapore's leading bar isn't complete without trying out the new bar snacks. The Fried Green Tomatoes (S$16++) took me by surprise - this comfort snack is deep-fried and served with a slow-cooked pork belly, chilli aioli and white cheddar cheese on top.
If you want the envy of other diners, order the delicious Chicken & Waffle (S$18++). Chef Nicholas's rendition of the Southern comfort dish combines the best elements of chicken and waffle to create a snack that is easy to eat and incredibly delicious. Just beware of that housemade hot sauce if you can't take spiciness well.
For a sweet conclusion to your night, opt for the beautifully-presented Banana Cream Cookies (S$12++) that has a soft and fluffy banana cream sandwiched between crispy wafers.