If you’ve visited enough whisky bars to imagine a space decked out in dark wood and deep-seating chesterfields, the newly opened Room for Morewill definitely be a breath of fresh air. Taking up one level of a big old house in Dempsey Hill that’s also home to French restaurant Atout, ilLido Group’s new opening resembles a striking, fashionable atelier. The palette of jewel tones is accented by polished brass and marble, while the mix of leather and fabrics lend a comfortable quality to the sleek, clean lines of the furniture.
The whisky list is no letdown either. A whirlwind tour of the world across 31 pages of the menu, those looking for a dram are spolit for choice at Room For More. To help guests out on this front, the team has come up with a short quiz to point them in the right direction in line with their whisky personalities, which is now available on their website as well. After taking it, I ended up with the Iwai Tradition Blend (from $14 for 30ml)and the Hammer Head 23YO 1989(from $12 for 30ml), both of which are new to me.
The former is hails from Mars Distillery located in the snowy Japanese Alps, 800 metres above sea level. Boasting a vivid golden hue, it’s smooth, soft, and layered – in a nutshell, what most people want out of a Japanese whisky. Floral on the nose, with allusions of wine, wood, and caramel on the palate. The latter from Czech Republic couldn’t be more different – in a good way. I loved its aroma of honeyed bourbon and it’s contrasting flavours of malt, citrus, pears, mineral tones, and wood spices.
Other whiskies that came out of the quiz at our table included the familiar Bowmore 18YO Malt(from $22 for 30ml). Think big floral notes with a light smokiness playing off the ripe fruit and chocolaty bouquet. There was, however, another youthful and affordable gem found in the McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt(from $15 for 30ml). Round, floral, and fruity, the dram comes with a bit of a bite from spices, which smoothens at the end with a vanilla note.
The folks at Room For More have gone out of their way to make the whiskies as affordable as possible, evident from the value for money that we’ve gotten so fair. The priciest of those we’ve tried is also the most complex. Armed with a buttery texture tinged with orange and chocolate, and a medium-long smoky, bittersweet finish, the Ichiro’s Malt Wine Wood Reserve (from $32 for 30ml) contains malt distilled from the now-closed Hanyu distillery. Matured in French oak, ex-wine casks, only 300-400 bottles are released annually.
Hot food at Room For More is supplied by Atout between 3pm-10pm; after that, guests can still order snacks like Salted Egg Chips ($11), Caramel Popcorn ($8), as well as dried fruits like raisins and guava. To go with our sunset drinks, we tried Atout’s excellent Crispy Chicken Karaage($18), which was wiped out by four of us in 15 minutes. We also had the meaty and morish Duck Rillette with Bread ($14), as well as the Chicken Liver & Foie Gras Pâté with Bread ($16). Both are traditional, French comfort food done right.
For those who want a break from whisky and spirits, there’s a list of cocktails that are mostly spins on the classics with tropical and Asian ingredients for a familiar touch. A take on the G&T is Geisha ($19), where the delicate Roku gin is paired with homemade jasmine syrup and Japanese apple-cucumber vinegar for a refreshing start to any drinking sesh. New Fashioned ($28), on the other end of the spectrum, makes for a good nightcap with its stirred combination of Hibiki Harmony, angostura bitters, chocolate bitters, and gula Melaka that has been infused with Sumatran coffee beans.
While we can’t see ourselves hauling ass to Dempsey for a drink when there are other whisky bars available – it is quite a competitive bar scene in Singapore – Room For More is a perfect spot for a pre- or post-dinner dram if you’re in the popular neighbourhood. After all, didn’t we mention that their happy hour is 3-9pm daily, with the likes of Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie and Macallan 12 Years Old going only at $12++ a pop?
Room for More is located at Level 3, 40C Harding Road, Singapore 249548, p. +65 6877 6977. Open 3pm-2am daily.