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The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Affordably priced whiskies and great mains on Hong Kong Street.

The must-orders (if any): A dram of affordably-priced whisky, Duck Confit

Summary: Picking up where Latin American cocktail joint Vasco left off on Hong Kong Street, The Cooperage is a cosy whisky bar offering more than 200 whiskies (mostly from Scotland) at incredibly accessible and affordable prices. The sound situation is certainly conducive for actual conversations, while the brown leather sofas allow for some very comfy in-sofa slumps as you rant to your friend about useless colleagues who only got and keep their jobs because they called in friendly ‘favours’/muse about your upcoming sexy-times holiday to Bali/give the person sitting opposite you come-hither glances as you linger your lips suggestively above the edge of the whisky glass.

The extensive beverage menu is pages and pages long. The general price point for 30ml of the entry-level and popular whisky choices is between $12 to $25, which your wallet would rejoice at. For instance, the various 12 Year Malt Glens (Glenrothes, Glengoyne, Glenkinchie, Glenfiddich and so on) are priced at just $12 for 30ml, with the corresponding 15 Year Malts and 18 Year Malts priced at $15 and $18 respectively for the same amount. The usual Macallans, Laphroaigs, Taliskers and Ardbegs as well as Hibikis and Nikkas are all present and correct, while elsewhere the discerning can go for the $25 dram of Octomore 07.2 5 Year Old Scottish Barley 208 PPM, and the high SES can opt for the $3,988.00 bottle of Bowmore Mizunara.

On the food front, aside from a range of pizzas, oysters, cheese and cold cuts, The Cooperage offers a small selection of canapes (sample: Wasabi Octopus), Don Buri Bowls (sample: Salmon with Spicy Mentaiko Sauce topped with Ikura), Pastas (sample: Carbonara Egg Yolk with Bacon) and Main Courses (sample: Black Angus Tenderloin, Truffle Potato Mash, Salad). For the price point in a Hong Kong Street/CBD setting, I was impressed with the happily lubricated and very al dente Spicy Prawn and Scallop Aglio Olio, served with a crustacean that confirms big heads are better (is that a saucy wink or a reference to Pinky and the Brain? – Chaste Reader). Even more notable is their Duck Confit with Truffle Mash and Orange Sauce, which made me smile in a way that I haven’t done since first trying the quack quack at The Betterfield years ago. The crisp yet indulgently fatty skin alone deserves its own stage.

I am already planning a return visit. The price of the whiskies is joyous fun and even for the non-alcoholic, the happily-priced and comforting grub is worth a look-see. The Cooperage is immediately my second favourite new dining concept this year since The Spot, and I am excited to see how things go from here.

the cooperage aglio olio

Spicy Prawn and Scallop Aglio Olio ($22), The Cooperage.

the cooperage duck confit

Duck Confit with Truffle Mash and Orange Sauce ($22), The Cooperage.

the cooperage old fashioned

Old Fashioned ($18), The Cooperage.

Grade: A2

The Cooperage
42 Hong Kong Street
Singapore 059681


Shawn began documenting his food experiences since he started reading Law at the National University of Singapore. Initially he turned to food for solace from the rigours of university life, and food eventually became his safe haven away from the horrors of legal practice. However, it dawned on him one day that he has become sufficiently enlightened about the magic of discovering new and good food, and that it was time to share his findings with others. Instead of aligning himself with the vast sea of vanilla foodie influencer-style of writing, which would admittedly open more doors in terms of free meals and public relations love, Shawn decided to approach food writing by way of satirical humour, turning the don't-ya-wanna-eat-what-I'm-eating-cuz-I'm-a-public-figure self-importance/self-indulgent gravitas of Instagram foodie-ism in Singapore on its head and conveying his thoughts about food in a manner which is decidedly obscure at times and on others, frankly nonsensical. The rigours of legal practice and desire for a form of indulgent escape led to Shawn's second passion - experiencing and writing about new and luxury hotel properties. Secret Life of Fatbacks is an extension of Shawn's Instagram account (@Larvitar). For intellectual property reasons, he is unable to name the website anything related to the titular Pokémon character. Feel free to ask him in person what "Fatbacks" refers to. Shawn is not a professional critic, blogger or photographer. He is simply a guy who loves food and luxury hotels very much and (likes to think that he has) a quirky sense of humor. Shawn is presently a full-time lawyer, and when he is not premature ageing due to stress and vicious deadlines, he is somewhere spending an exorbitant amount of money trying out new dining places and hotels.

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