Levant is an idyllic Mediterranean rooftop bar on Tras Street that combines brilliant cocktails and fun mezze dishes with a quaint city view.
If it seems like there’s a new cocktail bar popping up every other week in Singapore, that’s because it is. One of the latest to join the fray is Levant, a cocktail bar hidden on the rooftop of newly-built co-living hotel ST Signature on Tras Street. It’s so well tucked away it’s unlikely you’ll stumble upon it unless you know it’s there.
Opened by serial restaurateur Beppe di Vito’s ilLido Group – which is behind the likes of Amò, Braci, and GEMMA Steakhouse, among others – Levant, as its name implies, draws inspiration from the eastern Mediterranean, a vast region that covers parts of the Middle East, North Africa, and to a certain extent, Greece. In fact if we had to describe Levant (the rooftop cocktail bar), we’d say it broadly approximates to an experience that combines the casual cuisine from a Tel Aviv sidewalk bistro, the energy and edginess of a dance club in Lebanon, yet with the serenity of a Santorini seaside restaurant during aperitivo hour (without the sea view, unfortunately).
And the cocktails!
While Mediterranean restaurants aren’t uncommon here, Levant may be the first cocktail bar in Singapore truly invested in exploring that region with its drinks. We like that as far as possible it uses quality spirits and mixers that hail from the broader Mediterranean – Spain, Italy, France, and Greece – for its inspired signature cocktails.
For example, Athena’s Olive Branch is a loose Martini twist made with Gin Mare, Madeira, with a touch of Amalfi lemon and (of course) garnished with an olive. Apricot Clouds is a spiced number featuring Metaxa, a Greek amber spirit made with a blend of Muscat wine from the Aegean island of Samons, wine distillate, and Mediterranean botanicals.
The list goes on – tsipouro, a pomace-based raki, is used in the herbal, Negroni-like Greek Forest; Mirto, a myrtle liqueur popular in Sardinia and Corsica, is employed in the deliciously refreshing Sangaree Rose.
It’s not limited to alcoholic spirits. There’s Aleppo pepper, a popular spice in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine, used in the Citrus Tree. Or Mediterranean liquorice in the Medusa’s Gaze. Greek Maglini lemons. There’s some very serious thought in incorporating all these ingredients widely used in the Levant into the cocktails here, as opposed to paying mere lip service to the region.
We wish similar consideration had gone into its very bare wine list. While we don’t quite expect rare vintages of Chateau Musar, it would be nice to see representation from more wine-producing countries across the eastern Mediterranean. The Amalia Brut Method Traditionelle NV from Greece’s Ktima Tselopos vinified from the indigenous Moschofilero grape is a nice touch. But that Blind Corner Pet Nat hardly belongs.
Don’t expect classical Levantine cuisine at Levant. Here it’s really the kind of elevated bar food the likes of which you’ll find in the hip Beirut restaurants frequented by young night clubbers on weekends before they hit the dance floor.
The Baked Cheese, Pomegranate Molasses, Pumpkin Seed Dukkah, Pita Bread, the Beef Kofta Sliders, the Crispy Chicken, Chili & Pickled Lemon Glaze, Za’atar, or the Smoked Duck & Truffle Samosas, all of which draw on familiar regional flavours but present them in a different form. The Avocado Hummus? Somewhat sacrilegious, but oh so unctuously tasty.
Now it will be awhile before anyone gets to travel to the eastern Mediterranean. We can’t promise Levant the cocktail bar will be able to help scratch that travel itch. But between its well-considered cocktail list, fun innovative takes on Mediterranean flavours, chill alfresco vibes, and a different view of Singapore’s city skyline, it’ll still make a great escapade in the evenings.