You might remember famed restauranteur Alan Yau‘s Cantonese restaurant Madame Fan. Earlier this year, it launched a bar extension with the same moniker – and while its name is simple, the drinks are anything but clear-cut. This intimate 40-seater space sits discreetly above its bustling counterpart at The NCO Club, and is headed by Davide Boncimino – you might remember him from Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza’s The Other Room.
Davide’s approach when conceptualising his cocktails banks on his passion to make tipples ‘good enough to eat’, and by far, we have to agree. Delicious housemade infusions and tailor-made garnishes are nothing short of a testament to the effort by the folks here, pushing the boundaries beyond what is expected of a good cocktail.
In the Yu Cha ($26), Davide elegantly demonstrates an oriental flourish on the classic Martinez. A base of Beefeater 24 Gin and whisky imbued with the nutty, floral complexities of slow-roasted Iron Goddess Tea (tie guan yin). Topped with herbaceous shiso vermouth and savoury black peppercorn, it leaves a smooth lingering of herbal flavours.
Tian Mi Mi ($24) brings zest and spice to sweet ambrosial flavours with a smoked camomile and beeswax liqueur, honey, and black peppercorn. If you’re looking for a little pick-me-up, try the Molokó Royale ($24), a creamy cordial of milk-washed Reyka vodka layered with cold-brew coffee liqueur.
As its name suggests, the Velveteen ($24) is a silky stream of plantation pineapple rum and toffee-laced gula melaka ice cream (made in-house, of course) in your glass. A touch of lime cuts through the sweetness, making for an excellent dessert cocktail to end a night. For a drink with more sweetness, consider the Portofino ($24), a gin-based libation of caramel and lemon blended with savoury cherry tomato and strawberry sorbet.
Saving the best for last, all the stops are pulled for what is now Madame Fan Bar’s signature cocktail. (Not) Classic PBJ ($28) elevates the classic breakfast combo into a savoury amalgamation of peanut butter fat-washed Glenfiddich 15 whisky and caramelised Chinese kumquat liqueur.
An instant favourite, accompanying the drink is an equally exciting garnish — three perfect ‘dumplings’ (actually macadamia nuts coated in applewood-smoked chocolate and chilli puree) served in a miniature bamboo basket. A feast for all the senses, one doesn’t simply visit without having a taste of this.
Bold and inventive, Madame Fan Bar attempts and succeeds in pushing boundaries with 13 artisanal food-drink pairings for the ultimate complexity, balance, and finish. A textural playground of nuanced flavours and high-quality ingredients, take a savoury detour on your next trip to town for this refreshing oriental cocktail experience.
Madame Fan Bar is located at The NCO Club, 32 Beach Road, Singapore 189764. Open daily 12pm — 11pm.