Nestled in the basement of 12 Ann Siang (a multi concept venue that includes the sister grill restaurant of CHIJMES’ Coriander Leaf), Catchfly is one for the folks who enjoy craft cocktails alongside delectable bar food in a space that’s easy on the eyes. Plush with an industrial edge – think cushy teal armchairs, black marble, and exposed brick walls – the speakseasy is aptly named after a nocturnal flower that blooms only when the sun goes down.
Upon entering, we were welcomed by Head Mixologist Liam Baer from behind his bar and in front of shelves that hold his curated selection of small-batch and niche American spirits of rums, gins, whiskies, and absinthes. Born and bred in Boston, Liam is an IT man-turned-full time bartender who’s worked at the likes of Apotheke and the Richardson in New York City. He moved to Hong Kong in 2013, where he worked at Maximal Concepts and The Pawn, before heading to Bangkok to work on the drink programs at 72 Courtyard in Thonglor. We’re glad he moved to Singapore, because his Honey Badger ($22) is one of the tastiest whisky cocktails I’ve had in Singapore.
It might be a little light for those who prefer Old Fashioneds, but this tipple of rosemary-infused bourbon, lemon, ginger, yellow chartreuse, and honey has excellent balance, with familiar and comforting flavours reminiscent of lemon tea and honey ginger. The ingredients of each drink are listed on the menu and are delivered in the order of which they express themselves on the palate so yes, that lovely honey aftertaste didn’t hurt! Inspired by Malaysia’s national cocktail Jungle Bird, the cachaça-based Pretty Bird ($22) might not have made as big an impression on me with its fruity notes of pineapple, strawberry, and lime, but the Aperol, crème de cacao, and balsamic vinegar balances out the sharpness of the cachaça and the acidtity of the fruits.
Peckish? You’ll be happy to know that the food comes from the kitchen of Coriander Leaf Grill upstairs, so it’s not the generic, fried bar grub you might find a few doors down on Ann Siang Road. Their Kimchi Beef Chili ($21) is worth ordering. Nicely spiced and sporting moreish chunks of beef, we just wished they served this with the pita bread that came with the Trio of Mediterranean Dips ($18) instead of corn chips. We ordered both so we know it’s way easier to mop up the chili with the bread.
One can also tell that Liam loves his coffee with cocktails like In It to Nguyen It ($24) and Jetlagged ($24) on a mid-sized menu of 16 drinks. The former is play on Vietnamese iced coffee, featuring dark rum, blackstrap rum (produced from the darkest molasses), Averna (an Italian herbal liqueur), cold brew from Free the Robot, condensed milk, coconut, and roasted chicory (a plant used as a coffee substitute). It might be milky, creamy, and on the sweet side, but it definitely packs a punch. If you prefer your coffee without milk, the latter is a dangerous combination of rye whisky, bourbon, and coffee liqueur rounded out with sweet vermouth and raspberry.
At this point, we were craving something more substantial, food-wise. This Angus Beef Burger ($23) more than satisfied, with an Angus beef patty charcoal grilled to a perfect medium rare, tomato chutney, jalapeño relish, and garlic aioli sandwiched between two halves of a brioche bun. The fries were a little short of golden in our opinion, but most of our attention was on the brisket and hangar beef patty anyway.
For the nightcap, rum lovers will enjoy the tropical, Tiki-styled It’s Not The R, It’s The Sea ($23). The secret mix of a variety of rums and mezcal is tempered by passionfruit and coconut cream, and finished with a tad of five-spiced macadamia orgeat, lime and toasted rice. If you have an early meeting the next day, however, Liam has a section of the cocktail menu dedicated to drinks low in alcohol content so you can ease off it on the way home. They’re based on fortified wines and liqueurs, like the 30/30 ($17), a sweet-and-sour tipple of elderflower liqueur, passionfruit, white vermouth, lemongrass, and kaffir lime.
An option for more crafted cocktails in the neighbourhood, Catchfly makes a great addition to Ann Siang. And whether you’re heading down with your partner, a group of pals, or even with your boss, we daresay you’ll find yourselves in good hands.
Catchfly is located at B1, 12 Ann Siang Road, Singapore 069692, p. +65 6222 7183. Open Mon-Thu 6pm-1am, Fri-Sat 6pm-3am. Closed Sunday.