The Mandarin Oriental, Singapore was one of the first few hotels that I have stayed in when I relocated back to Singapore a number of years back. Last year, I stayed in a Club Marina Bay Room to check out the newly-refurbished Oriental Club and ever since I have gotten my American Express Platinum Card, I have been thinking about another staycation since the FHR Benefits for this property seem pretty good. Located near the Marina Bay, this luxurious property has just unveiled a brand new dining concept - MO BAR, which occupies the previous space where Axis Bar and Lounge used to sit, is the latest addition to the bar scene in Singapore. Led by Bar Manager Michele Mariotti who was previously as The Berkley and The Savoy in London, the cocktails here are not for the fainthearted and the inventive food will leave you craving for more.
In collaboration with award-winning Proof & Company, MO BAR features a nautical-inspired menu that showcases various cocktails with different alcohol content - the shaded area in the circle next to each drink signifies whether a drink is more spirit-forward (this actually helps you to quickly decide in times of doubt). I was invited one evening to check out the bar and The Roaring City (S$24++) was the first drink that I have tried - inspired by Singapore, this drink is served on top of a Peranakan-inspired tile (which acts as a coaster) and it exudes vibrancy in every sip. In case anyone was wondering, this drink ranked pretty low on the alcohol content scale but it is extremely well-balanced and I really like how refreshing it was!
If you prefer a cocktail with lesser alcohol content, another drink to check out is the Sea Beast (S$28++) which is concocted out of unique ingredients. In fact, this drink is probably not for the fainthearted since it contains a black ink (extracted from squid) coriander soju and it is also topped with a raw piece of salmon sashimi on top. Honestly, it looked intimidating but the light flavours were actually quite satisfying if you are looking for a drink to quench your thirst (or you simply do not want to get slushed).
Personally for me, the food menu truly stands out - these dishes are designed by the culinary team in-house and they have been selected to complement the drinks that have been created. It goes without saying that the Phoenix Wings (S$32++) is a real crowdpleaser - it is packed with chicken and glazed with local spices for that special touch.
Another dish that you will definitely have to check out is the Somen Noodles (S$32++) which is served generously with Tasmanian crab, shallot vinegar, chive and crab roe. This bowl of cold noodles is the ultimate comfort food and it actually goes really well with some of the heavier (read: stronger) cocktails. My personal favourite? Rough Waters by The Coral Sea (S$26++) - a spirit-forward cocktail that is made from herb cognac wine and topped with an edible coral on top. Not only is this Great Barrier Reef-inspired drink beautiful to look at, it also hits all the right spots.
MO BAR at the Mandarin Oriental, Singapore also offers a good selection of sweets - we tried the Avocado (S$16++) which was cleverly disguised within a thin sugar glass. Once you crack open that sugary and edible glass, you will find a gula melaka ice-cream in the core it (representing the seed). The flavours are fairly straightforward but I do like that pandan sponge and that hint of yuzu.
There are no lack of bars and watering holes in the Marina Bay area but honestly, there are not too places that truly stand out. This beautiful spot that overlooks the Lion City's famous skyline, has also quite recently relaunched a brand new afternoon tea experience that is reasonably-priced. The best way to enjoy this space is come down in the evening and enjoy a drink while overlooking the Marina Bay - if you have been looking for a new bar to check out, this is it!
This was an invited media-tasting session, though all views expressed are my own.