The folks at Jigger and Pony are on a roll. Having done well with Amoy Street stalwart cocktail bar Jigger and Pony, as well as fun rum-and-grill dining establishment Sugarhall, they’ve opened up two more outlets last month along Bukit Pasoh Road – oyster bar Humpback (see here for our review!) and The Flagship, a whisky-centric dive bar.
This weekend sees the launch of Gibson, their third (and radically different) concept in the same Bukit Pasoh shophouse. We chat with Jigger and Pony Group’s co-founder Indra Kantono and Bar Programme Director to find out more:
Hi Indra, Congratulations on the launch of Gibson! Custom-designed marble tables, stained glass back bar, and vintage glassware; it’s set to be Singapore’s new sexy bar. How did the cocktail-and-raw-seafood-bar concept come about?
Gibson was conceptualised to elevate the cocktail-lovers’ bar experience to unexpected territory. Our aim was to create an ultimate cocktail bar experience defined by a limitless cocktail program that showcases craft and creativity at the most pronounced level, and an indulgent raw seafood menu that celebrates the pure, pristine flavours of raw seafood.
The cocktails on the menu are, quite simple and yet refreshing, under the headings of Finding Comfort, Forging Friendship, and Sharing Happiness. How did you guys come up with these categories?
Instead of the usual flavor profiling, we wanted to take a refreshed approach built around the occasion and our guests’ mood to categorise our menu. We wanted it to be a guide for our guests to find that perfect drink for that particular moment.
‘Finding Comfort’ is for the guest who is not looking to be challenged or told what to drink. These drinks are straightforward and celebrate familiar and recognisable flavours. If you’re after a conversation starter, you’ll find it in Forging Friendship with a list of concoctions specially designed with bold flavours that challenge your palate and set you thinking. Cocktails in Sharing Happiness are all about fun, celebration, and showmanship so they are great if you’re looking to celebrate an occasion.
The Laid Backer – Sparkle Donkey Reposed with coconut cold-brew, salted vanilla syrup, and pandan bitters – from the Sharing Happiness section
Aki, with a whopping 30 cocktails on the menu at Gibson, you probably had a lot of creative autonomy over the creative process. How different was conceptualizing drinks for Gibson as opposed to cocktails for Humpback or The Flagship?
Humpback’s cocktail menu is a list of 12 signature cocktails which are mainly white spirits based. The food is the focus so our cocktails were created to match them. For Flagship, we serve 3 cocktails that change on a daily basis, with the signature mainstay being a whisky and apple juice drink that’s freshly squeezed to order.
In comparison, the focus of Gibson is on our cocktail list. I saw Gibson as a platform to really showcase my creativity and push the boundaries. So, expect to find some really unique creations on the menu.
Blackmore Wagyu Carpaccio with Uni and Sturgeon Caviar
We love how Gibson is taking smart casual to a new level, with bartenders decked out in bow ties and shirts paired with bermudas and not-too-formal shoes. This is in line with the price range of the food (from accessible to epicurean) and drinks (reserve cocktails available); how do you think diners will respond to this?
We think guests will welcome this. We wanted to create a bar where you could have a great, indulgent night on the town but in a place where you could feel completely comfortable. It was always our intention to make the bar a fun experience and do away with stiff, formal service.
Whatever experience you are looking for (be it for a reasonable nibble or an extravagant evening), you’ll find it at Gibson. The quality and craft of the food and cocktails that we create will always remain at the highest level so we can’t see the possibility of being more inclusive backfiring.
We know it’s hard to play favourites, but what’s your go-to drink and dish pairing on Gibson’s menu?
It’s difficult to choose just one but our signature cocktail is, of course, the Gibson (made with Hendrick’s Gin, Monkey 47 Gin, and Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry), a classic served with a pickled pearl onion, smoked radish and quail’s egg. It was the inspiration behind the bar and the concept as it is largely considered to be the best cocktail to pair with seafood. All the raw seafood plates match perfectly with this white-spirit based cocktail but when you enjoy it with a Hama Hama Oyster (exclusively available to Humpback and Gibson) in between sips, that’s unbeatable palate chemistry.