Alongside the property, Orchard Hotel Singapore’s Bar Intermezzo has undergone a major facelift, with a more sophisticated cocktail programme inspired by the tropics and its large repertoire of fruits and herbs. Walking in, the shiny new green and gold interiors seem to fit the botanic theme, with sleek wall murals to match. And to go with the tipples, bar snacks borrowing heavily from Singapore’s cultural food scene.
Made with St. George Botanivore Gin and green chartreuse, the initial sip of the herbaceous Pepper ($24) threw me off with its sweetness. Upon ordering one siew dai (less sweet), it tastes like the rainforest was distilled with a subtle hand. The cocktail manages to highlight the subtle taste of cucumber, with the capsicum and peppercorn adding an interesting dimension.
The Cacao ($25) appears pretty underwhelming, but a whiff of the cocktail hits you with the decadent perfume of chocolate. If you were from National Technological University, it smells like the rich, viscous aroma that wafts over from the Cadbury factory. Pleasant vanilla flavour and the addition of fresh lemon nicely cut through the richness of Creme de Cacao and chocolate bitters. Not too sweet, either.
Home-made fat-washed rum and cognac make for a nice, fuller body bodied cocktail in Coconut ($24), but the balance was a little off with the lack of some acidity to cut through the richness. I spent a good minute ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the Pineapple ($22) and nibbling at the dehydrated fruit garnish. Unfortunately, it fell short of expectations. Despite packing a full fruity punch, there was little on the boozy front. The five-spice syrup was almost non-existent too.
The Cinnamon ($24) is Intermezzo’s fruity take on the Tom Collins (the classic is made from gin, lemon juice, sugar, and carbonated water). The addition of spices and fruit smacks you with the unmistakable taste of apple pie. Clove ($22) uses clove-infused Ford’s Gin, Benedictine and absinthe liqueur, resulting in a spicy and sour cocktail while the Pandan ($24) delivers an intense pandan aroma and flavour that lingers on the tongue.
On the food menu, you’ll find bites like the Grilled Stingray Fins ($18), like an upscale version of DaFa cuttlefish strips, that came with an amazing black pepper dipping sauce (which we found ourselves eating with everything). Intermezzo also serves up the Truffle Potato with Garlic Chips ($12) for something more garden variety. While the bar tries featuring local delights like Satay ($16) and Samosas ($16), nothing beats the taste of your standard hawker store fare.
Bar Intermezzo is not an unwelcome addition to Orchard Road’s growing selection of watering holes. Straightforward names and makes for uncomplicated ordering, which I appreciate, but while each has a clearly defined flavour, most drinks here are sweeter than most would be used to. Just dial down the sugar and we’re all good.
Bar Intermezzo is located at 442 Orchard Road Singapore, 238879 Singapore, p.+65 67396668. Open Monday to Sunday from 10am – 1am.