Pioneering gastronomic cocktail bar Operation Dagger unveils a new cocktail menu under recently installed head bartender and creative director, Thomas Girard.
To say that things have been somewhat difficult for Operation Dagger is somewhat of an understatement; earlier this year saw the cocktail bar lose both founding creative director Luke Whearty and talented bartender Sasha Wijidessa. Then there was that slide from No.23 in last year’s rankings on World’s 50 Best Bars to No.30 in this year’s edition after its meteoric rise in previous years, so you could argue that it’s hit the lowest point in its history since it was opened five years ago.
But it’s also a time for opportunity and change, and to that effect the bar has brought on Thomas Girard as its new head bartender and creative director. The French native was most recently head bartender at London’s 69 Colebrooke Row, and looks to bring a fresh new perspective to Operation Dagger and help it retain its edge.
“I am very honoured and excited to join the team as I have always looked up to Operation Dagger as a pioneer in drink-making. The legacy to pursue is one for innovation, and to keep Dagger evolving and pushing boundaries,” Girard had shared when he officially joined Operation Dagger in September this year.
The new menu that Girard has overseen is not a total reset, however. While the ‘Dangerous Drinking Water’ section of the drinks menu is totally overhauled, Girard has kept the in-house fermented beverages, what the bar now calls ‘Hooch’.
He’s kept to the ethos too. Operation Dagger is best known for pioneering gastronomic cocktails here in Singapore, and many of its alumni have gone on to other bars to spread the gospel of cocktails inspired by food and culinary ingredients. It was among the first bars in Singapore to push sustainability as well. Girard’s new cocktails continue that tradition; Purple Yamborghini ($25++) – made with yam, yoghurt and pandan – tastes like creamy yam ice cream, while Cheese, No Egg ($25++) is the cocktail equivalent of a fluffy Japanese cheesecake.
Then there is the martini-like Golden Mile ($25++), which is not only spirit forward but rife with familiar Thai flavours in chilli, coconut and basil. Coffee lovers would enjoy So It Wasn’t Coffee ($25++), a clear highball-style tipple which looks nothing like coffee but tastes like it.
Possibly the most cutting-edge – and polarising – drink on the menu is É KHổ QUA ($25++), mostly because this bitter-sweet concoction sees the use of bitter melon, spinach and whey in its making.
We really do enjoy the ferments; there’s the classic pineapple-based Tepatxe ($22++) with a touch of sage, but for something really funky and bizarre go for Jackfruit ($22++). For those less adventurous the Lychee Martini ($22++) with its sweet tropical fruitiness is your best bet.
It’s early days yet, but Girard’s introduction and his light touch to Operation Dagger’s new menu looks set to help spearhead the cutting-edge bar in its next evolution.