Innovative cocktails within a minimalist space
Replacing Fancy along North Canal Road is a bar that’s just as minimalist and intriguing—NCR (so named for its location) is a creative cluster of spaces enfolded into a nondescript bar with innovative cocktails.
NCR is very much a place you either stumble upon serendipitously, or make deliberate plans to return to after a night of good drinks. From the outside, the restaurant-bar looks almost like a furniture showroom, hidden in an office building with no signage; its only indication a floor-to-ceiling tinted window offering curious passersby a peek in. Inside, much of the old decor remains—a clean white bar counter, old-school marquee lightbox, and an industrial-chic aesthetic bound to drive Insta hoes wild.
The menu by Chef Darwin Wong is a lean list of 15 European-centric items, each showcasing local produce through European techniques. The milky Pork Tea Party ($12) broth is a flavourful starter to whet appetites, though it’s the Catch Carpaccio ($18) that emerges as a surprising winner of the appetizer selection, using sashimi-grade catches-of-the-day. If it’s a full meal you’re after, get the Charcoal & Beef ($32)—a beautifully plated dish of chargrilled filet mignon soaked in truffle sauce, served with edible “charcoal” (tapioca covered in leek ash) on the side.
Still, it’s NCR’s cocktail menu that deserves the spotlight. Managed by Head Bartender Josiah Chee, the simple eight-drink beverage programme consists of fun concoctions that display Chee’s creative hand. Do yourself a favour and order Bird ($22), a bold mix of chicken essence, honey and pisco, which tastes deceptively nourishing—like your grandmother just whipped it up in the kitchen but added something extra. Bread lovers will be instantly drawn to the rye-based Toast ($22), topped with torched meringue and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and bits of crouton as the toast; the finished drink is smooth and easy to drink, and inspired by a blue cheese sandwich. Or keep it safe and go for the Orient ($22), the sweetest of the lot with nectar and blossom infused in the gin.