After a couple months of careful, dedicated experimenting, Smoke and Mirrors has just launched its new signature menu – showcasing a range of imaginative, ingenious and avant garde concoctions.
The innovative cocktails are not merely your average gustatory experience, but will call upon your olfactory and visual senses as well. Head bartender Yugnes Susela and his team aspire to offer an experience that they would not be able to find anywhere else and rise above other bars. On the panoramic rooftop of Singapore’s national gallery and with brand new tipples drawing upon culinary techniques, they have done just that in more ways than one.
The cocktails menu at Smoke and Mirrors opens with ‘High & Mighty’, a segment dedicated to all those who had previously thought that the drinks could have done with just a little bit more oomph (and by oomph they meant alcohol). The team heeded their customers’ wants and desires, delivering a varied choice of potent spirit-driven concoctions.
Nakajima’s Dansu ($22) by bartender Kavinn is a Cherry Blossom Tea-infused bourbon with apricot brandy, and orange and apple bitters. Inspired by award-winning Japanese landscaper Ken Nakajima, its entrancing and graceful presentation plays a fundamental part in elevating the whole experience; water lily and sencha scent is poured into a bed of hay and dry ice enkindling a fragrant waft of smoke to rise. With a Japanese fan, one can fan the delicate scent towards one’s face to be inhaled before drinking, a unique whole body experience.
Head bartender Yugnes has a background in the kitchen and is constantly telling his team to think like chefs, drawing from culinary techniques as a springboard in order to completely transcend anything that has been done before. He keeps a couple of his favourite cook books, selected from a much larger collection he confesses, on the top shelf of his bar.
“I’ve always found joy in doing the unimaginable, promising to never settle for normalcy. This cocktail menu is the birth of my promise.” Duck’s Fat Hope ($22), made with Jackfruit Rum, five-spiced honey, fresh lemon juice and topped off with droplets of Peking Duck Jus, is a shining example of Yugnes’ vision. The duck jus adds a certain richness to the concoction with hints of savoury umami notes.
The second section, ‘Subtle & Gentle’, features light and refreshing cocktails like Nathan’s Temporada ($24) which mixes the House Blend Rum, coconut agave syrup, rock melon juice, and dried Mexican mint. For something slightly sweeter and more dessert-like, go for Kavinn’s 12AM Misery ($23) which is an indulgent, nutty liquid feast. The drink is adorned with a beautifully delicate pumpkin leaf which is created from scratch from a blend of pumpkin and Mexican Tarragon.
‘Refined & Renewed’ is the last section and offers a selection of classics with a modern twist. Byron’s tropical Majestic Bird ($22) which is an incarnation of the 1970s Malaysian Tiki classic, and Yugnes’ floral and fizzy Painting Class ($25), are both perfect for a refreshing afternoon drink.
Each cocktail is a precious brain child of one of the bartenders at Smoke and Mirrors, and their ownership is distinctly marked on the menu. Yugnes encourages his team to take pride in their own creations and this makes the whole experience all the more special.
Indeed, the complex pairing of flavours and the intricate presentation of the drinks make them worthy of their own spot in the gallery. Yugnes and his team take us on a journey to discover new tastes and dare to dream, carving a new identity for this stylish cocktail bar.
This was an invited tasting.
Smoke and Mirrors
#06-01, National Gallery Singapore,
1 St. Andrew’s Road, Singapore 178957
Open Sunday to Thursday, 12 PM to 12:30 AM, Friday and Saturday, 12 PM to 2 AM