Following the success of Japanese fine-dining restaurant Nami, The Shangri-La Hotel Singapore opened its doors to their latest culinary star in the Tower Wing, Origin Grill & Bar just two days after Christmas last year. And their opening menu is quite a voyage through local colonial and cultural heritage, so you might just learn something new about Singapore!
The Origin Bar could have been a Wes Anderson film set, with the interior design cleverly referencing old English trains that ran from the Tank Road Railway Station to the Woodlands Jetty from 1903 to 1932, establishing the bar’s intention to provide a starting point for a metaphorical train ride through Singapore’s history. The many ornamental arches that run across the space, parallel to the bar, take after those you’ll find on old buildings like the National Gallery Singapore, which of course, used to be the Supreme Court.
Head Bartender Adam Bursik, formerly head barman at the now-defunct The Library on Keong Saik Road, created a cocktail menu that features five key districts of Singapore. Each cocktail reflects their colours, flavours and historical anecdotes.
Our journey started off at Orchard, featuring their signature Origin Cocktail ($22). Orchard Road was home to nutmeg and pepper plantations before it became the shopping belt we know, and the cocktail showcases those flavours with spiced pineapple, sugar cane, lime husk wine, and gin. Fresh, tropical and spicy – a winning combination. For those who prefer light and sweeter tipples, taste the City Flower ($22) along the way in Chinatown, made from torch ginger flower (used in the local dish rojak), hibiscus, honey and gin. There’s a charismatic cocktail to be found in Little India‘s Million Dollar Fee ($26). Think saffron – one of the most expensive spices and commonly used in Indian cooking – coconut distillate, and champagne!
Boat Quay was where much of Singapore’s unloading of goods trading took place on the river, and the delicate and bittersweet Buona Vista ($23) includes has more than a few ingredients that certainly have to be imported such as coffee, fig, distilled hazelnut, chocolate, and Campari. Final destination: Marina Bay. Time for our dreams to come true (or not), with the Imagination Game ($25); the intriguing combination of matcha, fennel, pomelo, celery and absinthe is perfect for those with a yen for funky cocktails.
Origin Bar is located at Lobby Level, Tower Wing, Shangri-La Hotel Singapore, 22 Orange Grove Road, Singapore 258350. Open 5pm-1am daily.