Mandarin Oriental, Singapore‘s MO Bar – headed by bar manager Michele Mariotti and boasting impressive views of the skyline – recently launched its latest cocktail menu, an entirely new selection of beverages from their initial menu. Since its inception, the Pacific Ocean-inspired MO Bar has been one of my favourite cocktail bars in Singapore, offering both the requisite amount of privacy and intimacy that I seek as well as cocktails which, more often than not, display interesting ideas without forsaking what it means to be a good, reliable tipple. Of course, the most important reason why I was a frequent patron was because I was positively obsessed with the crisp gin-based 7,000 Leagues Ahead cocktail from their first menu, having recommended it to at least 12 different cocktail-loving friends.
The cocktails at MO Bar are usually stunning in presentation, with some beautiful choices of liquid vessels being employed. Taking over where the flashy Mother of Dragons cocktail from the previous menu left off in terms of visual commandeering, the peacock-starring rum-based cocktail Harvest Queen (agricole, apple and guava) does quite the formidable strut. The Elixir (gin, calamansi, Makrut lime) is a worthy sequel to 7,000 Leagues Ahead, conveying the same crisp pleasures but with an added ice cube and tangy note to the proceedings. Comfort (whisky, oolong tea, pineapple) adds a risque, dangerous edge to a warm oolong tea experience, while Lantern (gin, cucumber, chilli chicken) is a valentine to memories of Hainanese chicken rice chilli with its tart, cucumber-laden cool, with the tipple served in a battery-operated glass which shines fluorescent bright. Elsewhere, Bitter Sweet (whisky, chocolate, caramel) delivers chocolate martini pleasures, while the caffeine-savvy Northern Tribe (rum, coconut coffee) straddles hot and cold temperatures to intriguing effect. Those who fancy an old-fashioned spirit-forward tipple can opt for the Negroni-esque Nomadic Forager (vermouth, coffee, bitter).
One of the latest menu’s notable features is its ability to alcoholise mocktails and de-alcoholise cocktails, with the Silk Market (mandarin, honey water and corn) and exotic Old Friend (BBQ kimchi, alcoholic-free soju, seaweed) being worthy candidates of crossover experimentation. For those who like to have a participative role to play in their cocktails, the bar is more than equipped to craft bespoke creations for guests. I recently had a wonderful bespoke Negroni at Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou made using both Laphroiag whisky and Nordes gin, and was hoping to recreate the pleasurable smoky rush from that cocktail. While the bar did not carry said Nordes gin, Michele recommended a similarly-botanical Arctic Blue gin and eventually crafted for me a competent Negroni-esque cocktail with the peaty flavour profile I sought.
On the bar bites side of things, the lemongrass-perfumed stuffed Chicken Wings (Thai chilli, scallion) makes a welcome return but in a more amenable portion serving, while new stomach-filling bedfellows include the Gyu-Katsu Sando (breaded Wagyu beef, bulldog sauce), Lobster Roll (Boston lobster, brioche bun, chive, radish) and crispy Tiger Prawns (Masala mayo, curry leaves).
For post-work evening drinks in the Marina Square hotel cluster area, this bar continues to be one of the key options alongside Lobby Lounge at Conrad Centennial Singapore and the lounge bar concept set to replace Chihuly Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore after renovation works end. I will be back.
MO Bar Singapore
5 Raffles Avenue
Mandarin Oriental, Singapore,