Hidden behind a row of (fake) vending machines, Ume San 100 in Fortune Centre is a quirky Japanese-inspired speakeasy that offers izakaya favourites, idiosyncratic cocktails, and possibly Singapore’s largest selection of umeshu.
Fortune Centre isn’t normally where we think about heading for drinks after work. Indeed the normally drab office and retail complex along Middle Road is better known for its spread of cafes and eateries offering vegetarian and vegan fare than its watering holes, aside from a few popular Japanese izakayas on a couple of its floors.
So it isn’t exactly where we’d expect to find a Japanese speakeasy with one of the biggest selections of umeshu in town. But here we have Ume San 100, tucked between a couple of ubiquitous cafes, and hidden behind a row of what looks like Japanese-style vending machines (jidōhanbaiki).
It’s a cosy little space – it seats just 28 and another six at the bar – and decked out exactly as what you’d expect of a contemporary Osaka-style izakaya bar. And one that’s particularly targeted at a younger demographic. Just look at the dishes on offer; the likes of Mentaiko Gyoza, Garlic Chicken Karaage, and Angry Spam Fries, bar bites perfect for youthful food-loving weebs.
When we were there Ume San 100 were on the second iteration of their small food menu that is “relationship-themed”, so you have a range of nibbles and libations with names so inspired. The Breakup Ramen, for example, obviously served cold. The Angry Asari Soup Ramen, featuring springy noodles in a fiery clam-laden broth. Or the more regular Angry Chashu Soup Ramen, another spicy but pork-based option.
There must be a lot of tempestuous relationships around.
The cocktails too.
The Ex is gin- and vodka-based sour that’s spiked with a healthy dose of wasabi, ostensibly to remind you the pain of love lost. Hot Mess is an umeshu and wine-based creation that’s floral and slightly sweet, while Tinder Swindler is a smooth and easy gin-based sipper. Alternatively there’s Its Kopicated, effectively a Japanese twist on the Irish Coffee.
These cocktails are obviously seasonal and will change when Ume San 100 evolves into their next theme. Alternatively there are its takes on classics that are more or less on its regular menu. We really enjoyed the Umesan Negroni, the classic Italian aperitivo cocktail given a Japanese twist with Japanese gin and umeshu (in lieu of vermouth). Otherwise there’s an entire selection of highballs to choose from.
And true to its name, Ume San 100 carries a wide selection of umeshu to choose from, which you can order by the bottle, as flights, or converted into cocktails.
Here’s hoping any invitation to visit this speakeasy isn’t a precursor to the end of a relationship!
[Photos courtesy of Ume San 100]
Ume San 100
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