If you’ve ever wondered whether to go for drinks or dessert after dinner in Central, the correct answer is both—and an extension to that answer is BARCODE, a cafe near Wyndham Street that moonlights as a cocktail bar come nightfall.
Founded by the team behind the tea-inspired Tell Camellia, BARCODE opened this summer on Glenealy opposite the historic St Paul’s Church. We were told that the “CODE” in BARCODE stands for “coffee” and “dessert,” making its name a neat encapsulation of the eatery’s multiple personalities.
Through an unassuming door that blends into the cafe’s minimalist decor, we were led into BARCODE’s, well, bar. At 6:30 pm on a Wednesday, the dim, ocher-accented speakeasy was already buzzing with the after-work crowd watching as bartenders whipped up their drinks before them.
Their cocktails are dessert inspired, and it’s easy to see how: the Chocolate Cookies Espresso Martini with maple syrup and Mr Black cold brew coffee liqueur ($120) came with a generous sprinkling of cocoa powder, while the Peanut Butter Whisky Sour with honey, lemon juice and egg white ($120) was bold with its savoury, nutty flavor.
The Molten Tiramisu ($100), one of BARCODE’s signatures, was recommended with the whisky sour. With a fluffy and smooth filling, the tiramisu was one of the best iterations of the coffee-flavored dessert that we’d tried.
For our second round of drinks, we went with two cocktails that were decidedly less dessert-y.
The gin-based Rest of the Time ($120), made with rooibos tea and raspberry for a light earthy taste, was one editor’s favorite drink of the night.
Consisting of sherry, mint and clarified yogurt, Break Night ($120) was refreshing and sweet. It didn’t feel like the yogurt added much to it though—we didn’t taste any tang in the drink.
We also tried the Strawberry Cheesecake ($100), which came with two half-glasses of a gin cocktail made with honey.
The cheesecake, cut into two for ease of sharing, had a lovely rich, creamy finish with a delightfully crumbly graham base. It paired well with the strawberry yogurt cream on the side, which tasted a little like ice cream.
Overall, we were well impressed with the two desserts we tried, both of which we found not too heavy or sweet.
While we enjoyed the drinks, we couldn’t quite justify the price point. The dessert-inspired concept is novel, but loses its sophistication when some of the cocktails are just reliant on the flavors already infused in their liquor—peanut butter-flavored whisky and chocolate-flavored vodka—for that kick of sweetness.
BARCODE also has classic cocktails (think frozen daiquiri, negroni and old fashioned) and a small selection of bar snacks.
BARCODE: G/F, Glenealy Tower, 1 Glenealy, Central
Editor’s Note: This article was based on an anonymous and unannounced stay at BARCODE. Coconuts footed the bill and our writer received no freebies. BARCODE had no editorial involvement or oversight in this article. Read our Editorial Policies here.
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