As a relative newcomer to the world of alcoholic beverages, I must say, a night of indulging in the artisanal cocktails of our latest hotel bar has raised the bar (pun intended) of what makes a good drink. Finally opening in sunny Singapore on the fourth floor of the Mandarin Oriental, in collaboration with award-winning collective Proof & Company, MO Bar‘s prime location on the fringes of the business district presents guests with a lovely view of the Marina Bay waterfront and Singapore’s skyline.
Fans of MO Bars around the world will know that apart from their great cocktails, what really rounds off the MO Bar experience is their lush decor. Overseen by Blueplate Studios by Wilson Associates, the interior design takes inspiration from the Pacific Ocean, with objects of adventure and travel adorn the space – an apt thematic choice as it foreshadows the voyage guests are about to embark upon entering.
Welcoming you is a nautical menu, a visual aide with a compelling little story of each drink, as well as a helpful indicator of its alcohol content. To ease into the night, The Roaring City ($24) will do the trick. Served on top of a colourful Peranakan-inspired tile coaster, this cocktail that showcases Mexican and Italian alcoholic traditions is vibrant, light, and refreshing at the same time. The sparkling pineapple tepache, a fermented beverage traditionally made with the peel and rind of the fruit, comes topped with vermouth jelly.
Another fun drink, also on the lighter side of the alcoholic spectrum, is the Sea Beast ($28). As the name suggests, it’s a drinking venture for the braver souls. Not only does it make use of uncommon ingredients, like black ink coriander soju, it is also garnished with fizzy yuzu sushi (yep, you get an actual piece of salmon sashimi with the drink). Something sweeter, unsurprisingly, lies in a serving of Tea Time ($28). Think Whisky Sour wannabe with Javanese tea-infused bourbon, served with cashew cake made with arrack, a liquor made from the sap of the coconut flower. The green and black marble vessels the cocktails are served in are absolutely gorgeous too.
The most Instagram-worthy drink of the list that we tried is, hands down, the Mother of Dragons ($26). Topped with an intricate graphic dragon printed on edible rice paper, its bright pink hue comes from the blend of strawberry, aloe vera, dragon fruit, and cachaca. Reminiscent of our strawberry-flavoured childhood jellies, it’s sweet, fruity, and way too easy to drink. Those looking for a spirit-forward tipple will find the answer in Rough Waters by the Coral Sea ($26), where herb-infused cognac is topped with squid ink tuile posing as edible coral. Dashes of roasted pepper sauce give a salty kick for that sea-like vibe.
MO Bar’s cocktails utilise many Asian ingredients, and so do the bar bites. Our favourites include their Singdog ($26). Think otah sausage between perfectly toasted buns, slathered with achar, sambal mayo, scallions, dried shrimp. Don’t miss their Phoenix Wings ($32) either, an incredibly sinful version of the classic bar snack. Crispy, glazed wings are served stuffed – and I mean, stuffed – with chicken meat blended together with local spices and herbs. It’s also deboned, making it incredibly easy to eat.
Folks with a sweet tooth can have a crack at their Avocado ($16), which literally needs to be cracked open so you can dig into the delicious pandan sponge filling, glazed with yuzu and gula Melaka ice cream.
Drinking at MO Bar is certainly not a cheap affair; the cocktails are priced above average – even higher than Manhattan, we reckon – with most of them falling into the range of $26++ to $28++. Value aside, what you are guaranteed, however, is a classy night out enhanced by an unobstructed view of Marina Bay Sands and intriguing tipples. Oh, and the bar is also open for afternoon tea ($65++ per person, inclusive of one cocktail) because it’s never too early for a good drink.
MO Bar Singapore is located at 5 Raffles Avenue, Marina Square, Singapore 039797, p.+65 6885 3500. Open Sun-Thu 11am–1am, Fri-Sat and Eve of PH 11am-2am.
Top image: MO Bar’s Mother of Dragons