Since its launch in October last year, rooftop cocktail bar Smoke & Mirrors – located within the cavernous confines of National Galley Singapore – has impressed with its views of the Padang and across Marina Bay all the way to Marina Bay Sands, as well as the cutting-edge cocktails of head bartender Yugnes Susela and his team.
But as with all things change is a constant, and Smoke & Mirrors has as of last week made some tweaks to its cocktail menu and bringing on some new creations. The new menu is segmented into three different sections: “Subtle & Gentle” features lighter, refreshing tipples; “Refined & Renewed” casts a modern twist to old classics, while the very new “High & Mighty” encompasses spirit-driven concoctions of a more potent nature.
We’re particularly smitten by the Nakajima’s Dansu ($22++, main picture), snuggled under the “High & Mighty” category. Named after award-winning Japanese landscape artist Ken Nakajima, the cocktail is served almost Japanese tea ceremony-style, with water lily and sencha scent poured into a bed of hay and dry ice to create a smoky spectacle. Modelled after the traditional Old Fashioned but featuring cherry blossom tea infused bourbon, apricot brandy, and orange & apple bitters, this powerful concoction gains a new dimension when you inhale the smoke as you sip the drink.
Another Old Fashioned-inspired drink is the Smoked Up ($20++), similarly in the “High & Mighty” category. The combination of lapsang souchong infused tequila, banana maple syrup and Pyechaud bitters, this cocktail is a tribute to Chuck Noland, Tom Hanks’ character in the movie Cast Away, and is served with a scroll that contains a random poem that Noland writes as he was stranded on a remote island. It’s depressing enough to make you order another strong one.
Conversely the 12am Misery ($23++, above), unlike its name is far more festive with its Thanksgiving-like flavours. Trinidadian dark rum, Fino sherry, hazelnut orgeat syrup and chocolate bitters mesh together into a drink that tastes like rich pumpkin pie, complete with a “leaf” made from pumpkin and Mexican tarragon.
The Temporada ($24++, above), on the other hand is far more refreshing, with the house blend rum, coconut agave syrup, rock melon juice providing a fruity pick-me-up. The Glasgow Winterfall ($25++) is similarly invigortaing, with Drambuie, Amara Nonino, Becherovka, grapefruit sherbet, lemon, orange bitters, and topped up with bubbles for a drink most desirable on warm, humid evenings.
But the most interesting drink new to the cocktail menu has to be the Duck’s Fat Hope ($22++, above), a take on the daiquiri. While we’ve had bacon fat infused into our drinks before, it’s pretty much the first time we’ve seen duck fat and duck jus – rendered from a Cantonese-style roasted Peking duck, no less – used in a drink, along with rum that’s been infused with jackfruit, five spice scented honey, and lemon juice. We reckon it should be called a duckquiri, but Smoke & Mirrors’ marketing team may baulk at that.
Speaking of Peking duck, for some light eats consider the Half Peking Duck with Homemade Crepe and Traditional Garnishes ($40++) to sate any hunger pangs as you imbibe. If you’re wondering why a cocktail bar is serving up Peking duck, the roasted bird hails from Chinese restaurant Yàn (宴) located just downstairs, which is like Smoke & Mirrors owned by Park Hotel Group. Forget the Truffle Fries with Homemade Dip ($12++), which is pedestrian, and instead opt for the Crispy Tofu Skin with Salt & Spices ($8++, above) or Mushroom Tempura with Crispy Tofu Crumbs ($10++), both which are lovely.
Smoke & Mirrors is located at #06-01 National Gallery Singapore, 1 St. Andrew’s Road, Singapore 178957.