The culture-forward cocktails of cosy cocktail bar The Elephant Room Singapore are a liquid snapshot of Singapore’s Little India.
Hankering for a taste of culture? In this cosy upper-storey shophouse cocktail bar, you can literally drink it. Bartender-owner Yugnes Susela started The Elephant Room in 2019 as a homage to Little India, drawing for his cocktail creations inspiration from the part of Singapore that’s home to the many myriad cultures of the Indian subcontinent. Now on to its third cocktail menu iteration, the cocktail bar in the Keong Saik entertainment enclave continues to reimagine and tell the stories of Little India in its cocktails.
The Elephant Room’s Menu 3.0 thankfully retains some of our favourites from its first two menus. The pink guava infused gin and tonic that is Buffalo Road from its debut menu, for example, as well as Banana King from its second. The ingredients that go into its cocktails are freshly sourced every day from Little India itself. It may sound like a small thing, but we like that it show commitment to their cause.
And because of the largess offered by Little India for Susela and his team to tap on, it’s hard to classify the cocktails at The Elephant Room. Consider Mr. Desker, a spirit-forward tipple containing a blend of Royal Challenge blended whisky and Amrut single malt whisky. We’d call it an Old Fashioned, except it also includes a splash of distillate made with spices normally used to marinate meat for a tandoor.
Then there’s Chutney, which reinvents the staple relish as a tipple using Indian gin, house-made mint liqueur, and even chilli vinegar; it’s even topped with a thosai crisp for good measure. There’s Pina Rasam too, a cocktail take on the tangy and spicy South Indian soup with a touch a pineapple. A Bloody Mary and Pina Colada hybrid, maybe?
How about Race Course Plantation, which combines Indian rum, coconut and clarified sugarcane? Or the umami-dripping King of Toddy – named after the legendary toddy entrepreneur Rasoo Shanmugam – made with Ceylon Arrack, clarified spiced buttermilk, and pickled palm seed? There are simply no classic cocktail equivalents here.
But that’s the best part about Little India that most Singaporeans have come to love – the sheer bounty of the Indian subcontinent. Close your eyes while sipping on a cocktail at The Elephant Room, and you can almost imagine the sights, sounds, and smells of that iconic Singapore heritage area.
The Elephant Room Singapore
Address 20A Teck Lim Rd, Singapore 088391 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 5.00pm to 10.30pm Mondays to Thursdays; 1pm to 10.30pm on Fridays; 4pm to 10.30pm on Saturdays; closed on Sundays
Tel (65) 9111 5131