When Cantonese restaurant Madame Fan opened at The NCO Club last year, its namesake bar was quietly launched as well, though most of the fanfare was directed at the food, due to restaurateur Alan Yau’s backing of the program. But now, with a new head mixologist at the helm, the plush cocktail lounge is finally officially revealed, shaking up the 40-seater space with a series of Asian-influenced concoctions.
The man behind Madame Fan Bar‘s marble counter is Davide Boncimino, formerly from hotel speakeasy The Other Room, and his drinks philosophy is to come up with cocktails that are “good enough to eat.” In line with a push to create from scratch, his recipes include edible garnishes and liqueur infusions that are made in-house, which means the resulting flavors aren’t your run-of-the-mill types. That’s perhaps why he encourages guests to sip on their beverage, then nibble on the garnish, before going back for a second swig to taste the nuanced layers.
To start, refresh your palette with the “suave and smooth” O & O ($22), a mix of Star of Bombay gin, vermouth, olive cordial, and osmanthus-scented tea soda that’ll ease you in the direction of more potent cocktails as the night goes on. Up next, a little show-and-tell, with (Not) Classic PBJ ($28), where your peanut butter and jelly sammie gets whipped into drink form with peanut butter fat-washed Glenfiddich whisky and caramelized kumquat liqueur, served with bite-sized macadamia nuts that are covered in chocolate and enveloped in a puff of smoke.
Inspired by the famous Chinese ballad of the same name, Tian Mi Mi ($24) brings on the sweetness with a bit of an edge, from its mix of whisky, smoked camomile liqueur, mandarin, honey, and white and black peppercorn. It’s zesty, it’s floral, it’s spicy — and it comes with a honeycomb slice because, well, love’s got that saccharine quality, we guess.
As a take on the classic Martinez, Madame Fan’s Yu Cha ($26) blends Beefeater 24 gin and whisky with tie guan yin tea and shiso vermouth, resulting in herbal and bittersweet notes served in a pretty porcelain teapot.
If you like your cocktails smooth and creamy with a tropical touch, Velveteen’s ($24) got that #islandlife vibe with a splash of Plantation pineapple rum in a drink that’s basically liquid dessert made of coconut sorbet and lime zest. Otherwise, head off into the balmy night with just a slight buzz from the Portofino ($24), a lovely and light libation that pairs a house-made sorbet of cherry tomatoes and strawberries with salted caramel syrup and Hendrick’s gin.
The bar opens from noon daily, so those who’d like to get a head start on weekend boozing can swing by for a round of drinks.
Madame Fan Bar is at The NCO Club, 32 Beach Rd.
6818-1921. Daily noon-11pm.
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