Since their rousing opening in December 2013, Anti:dote has consistently been in the good books of Singapore’s discerning drinkers, and widely recognised as one of the best hotel bars in the city. Earlier this month, Anti:dote’s cocktail and tapas menu went under a major revamp under the auspices of Head Craftsman Bannie Kang and Head Chef Tryson Quek. Working in unison, the creative and energetic couple (yes, they’re wife and husband) have presented an admirable selection of artisanal cocktails made with premium spirits and fresh ingredients, and modern Asian-influenced tapas plates.
The nine signature cocktails are categorised according to alcohol content – mellow, cheeky, and boozy – but regardless of how alcoholic you like your cocktails, you can be assured of premium spirits, fresh ingredients (most of the herbs come from the hotel’s rooftop garden), as well as housemade aromatic bitters and liqueurs.
For a refreshing start to the evening, try either the Atlantis Lea (S$23) or the Rabbit Hole (S$23). Named after the mythical underwater city and an aquatic deity, the former is a shaken tipple of Milagros Tequila, cucumber, dill, and lime juice whose lovely texture is enhanced by aquafaba (chickpea water). The latter is so named for the surprise in the drink, a baby carrot that has taken on the aromatic flavours of Hendricks’ Gin, elderflower liqueur, white vermouth, pineapple juice, and mint.
Feeling peckish? Pair the cocktails with the Irish No. 3 Oysters (S$25 for half dozen, S$40 for a dozen) or the Chicken Liver Parfait (S$16). Ingeniously kept cold with tomato ice, the lightly creamy shellfish is bookended by the divine flavours of pickled seaweed on top and the caramel quality of the burnt butter caviar. Served in an adorable chicken-shaped vessel, the chicken liver mousse topped with a layer of port wine jelly is surprisingly light and fluffy due to the use of whipped cream. The accompanying arugula, a quail egg, and a airy crostini provides texture while also presenting a traditionally rich dish that’s easier to finish!
For such a vegetable forward dish, the Beetroot, Edamame, Burrata, Manuka Honey (S$16) tarts certainly don’t taste very green (in a good way). Tryson’s insistence on using fresh edamame means the beans have a wonderfully different texture from the usual izakaya snack. The thin but heavily laden tarts arrive on hot stones, playing off against the cool burrata and honeyed cubes of beetroot. In keeping with the beetroot theme, the smokey and herbaceous Taproot Sangaree (S$23) features beetroot wine (made by boiling down beetroot, orange juice, spices and white wine), mezcal, and Italian bitter liqueur Cynar. It might not be for everyone, but we suspect this well-balanced tipple will have its fair share of fans.
Bannie’s Korean heritage is evident in Su Jung Gwa (S$25), a brown sugar, ginger, and cinnamon tea punch traditionally drunk at Mid-Autumn Festival and the Korean New Year. In this alcoholic twist, she stirs the tea syrup with Remy Martin VSOP cognac and angostura bitters, served with a spray of absinthe and a visually stunning red date and wolfberries jelly cube glittered with gold flakes. The frozen jelly also helps to keep the drink cold, so it’s not all form here. Those looking for an equally boozy alternative can turn to Philoso’Me (S$25), a concoction of Venezuelan rum Diplomatico Mantuano, mezcal, Campari, Palo Cortado sherry, and muscavado. This sweet, savoury, and smoky spin on the Negroni is a must for chocolate lovers.
In the mood to indulge? Sample the Hokkaido Scallop Tartar (S$26). Marinated in smoky ponzu laced with Octomore whisky before being topped smoked lime, fresh uni, and caviar, you’ll find yourself addicted to the accompanying rice and tapioca dotted with seaweed and dried scallops for more umami. For something more comforting, go for Tryson’s take on the classic fish & chips. Starring the highly-prized and sustainable Threadfin Fish (S$18), which is commonly used in fish porridge for kids due to its perceived nutritional value, the fillets are tempura battered and deep fried before being plated with potato balls cooked in duck fat. The customary mountain of mushy, minty peas is swopped out for a lighter, well-texured pea soup infused with clam and chicken stock, mint, and lemon juice.
Sweet treats here are no afterthought either; the Raspberry, Pistachio Whip, Verbena Granite ($12) is flawless. Think pistachio crème on raspberry sponge with an icy, palate-cleansing mix of lemon, verbena, and bergamot on the side for acidity and balance.
The last thing to note about Anti:dote’s new offerings is the variety of punchbowls now available on the menu. Good for four to eight, The Out-of-Towner (S$105) has a crowd-pleasing recipe of Sailor Jerry rum, pea flower, violet liqueur, lemon juice, and white tea that’s reminiscent of childhood drinks flavoured with grape, cassis, and black currant. Did we mention the whimsical Ferris-wheel structure holding the punch is great? Not only does it prevent the punch from diluting, it also makes an Insta-worthy snap!
Anti:dote is located at L1, Fairmont Singapore, 80 Bras Basah Road, Singapore 189560, p. +65 6431 5315. Tapas menu is available Mon-Wed, Sat-Sun 6pm-10.30pm and Thu-Fri 6pm-11.30pm. Bar is open Sun-Thu 5pm-1am, Fri-Sat 5pm-2am.
This post is sponsored by Fairmont Singapore.
Top Image: The Out-of-Towner