Joining Mandarin Oriental, Singapore‘s impressive F&B lineup is MO Bar, a new bar concept which takes over where the former Axis Bar and Lounge left off. Situated on the fourth floor of the hotel and boasting impressive views of the skyline, the bar serves dainty afternoon tea sets as well as a carefully curated, conceptualised and regionally-inspired cocktail and bar menu.
The bar has a razor-sharp focus on aesthetic, and it extends beyond the cocktails. The Pacific Ocean-inspired design plays it all hand-carved wooden sculptures and hand-woven tapestries, with the lighting being suitably dim and seats being comfortably far apart from each other for that requisite amount of privacy and intimacy. Guests who wish for glamorous in-ear whispery moments or an opportunity to view the mixology team’s technical wizardry in action can opt for seats by the bar counter.
The cocktails, created in collaboration with the ever-reliable Proof & Company, are varied enough in concept and strength to cater to most tastes. The dramatic-looking Mother of Dragons (Strawberry Aloe Vera, Dragon Cachaça) is easily the most photogenic, evoking hazy pleasurable memories of grape-flavoured Yakult in its wake. In terms of concept, the most distinctive for me was Back To Bali (Indonesian Pandan Rum, Ginger Lemon Tea Ice), a cocktail which permanently makes Pokka Ice Lemon Tea inadequate for me in that it does not possess a drop of alcohol. Lighter options include the Singapore-inspired The Roaring City (Sparkling Pineapple Tapache, Vermouth Jelly) and refreshing Hong Sweet Kong (Carbonated Scotch Tea, Chinese Pear Babies).
The masculine and degenerate should opt for spirit-forward choices such as 7000 Leagues Ahead (Super Sonic Gin, Kaffir Lime Leaf Oil), which plays like a valentine to gin lovers, or the heady Rough Waters by the Coral Sea (Herb Cognac Wine, Edible Coral) which dons a mysterious black widow-esque coral veil. Of course, classic cocktails such as Manhattan and Negroni are ever present for your bespoke pleasure. For those who do not enjoy cocktails or spirits (perish the thought), the bar has its very own MO Bar Pilsner which the bar developed with local craft brewery, Archipelago.
The cocktails can be paired with light bites such as the lemongrass-perfumed stuffed Phoenix Wings or the saucily succulent Singdog (Nonya Sausage, Achar, Sambal Mayo, Scallion, Dry Shrimp). The playful and persuasively pocky Avocado (Pandan Sponge, Yuzu, Gula Melaka Ice Cream) jumps out from the limited selection of sweets, and achieves its goals with efficiency.
Whilst I was not the biggest fan of MO (hur hur) when it came to their previous (non-Mortons) bar programme, MO Bar comes in all guns a-blazing, and genuinely surprises with the strength of its tipples which manage to pair both concept and quality. For post-work evening drinks in the Marina Square hotel cluster area, this bar certainly poses as a formidable alternative to current mainstays Chihuly Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore and Lobby Lounge at Conrad Centennial Singapore (which boasts an extensive gin selection and an amazing one-for-one deal under American Express’ Chillax programme). I will be back.
The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Visually-striking cocktails have both personality and strength of concept.
The must-orders (if any): Phoenix Wings, Back to Bali, 7000 Leagues Ahead
5 Raffles Avenue
Mandarin Oriental, Singapore, Marina Square
This post was written at the invitation of MO Bar, but all thoughts, degenerate drunkenness and sleepy taxi rides are solely mine.