Atlas Bar: More than just that Gin Tower

With Singapore Cocktail Festival out of the way, life dulls down to a certain state of normalcy and I can finally catch a breath or two without having to sip on my fancy old fashioned in between.

Still, life and food revolves around the general bar-hopping practices, and if there's one thing I've noticed in terms of bar trends - standard of food is of paramount importance to the viability of the bar. Especially if you're looking to retain your drinking cliente for longer periods. Some of my recommendations for good tipples paired with equally satisfying nosh, include Tippling Club, Employees Only, new kid on the block, Cracker Jack, Neon Pigeon, 28HKS and Sugarhall. What's next?

For drink chasers whose bank accounts are more of less self-replenishing, there's a gleaming gem in the Gotham building that has just opened up to stupendous response. For realms of pleasure that extend beyond the regular truffle fries, look to Atlas Bar.

Needless to say, the drinks section is well covered. With immaculate concoctions dreamt up by Head Bartender Roman Foltan, formerly from Artesian, in London; the bar also focuses on rare champagne and gin which they painstakingly take to curate in impossibly Utopian methods. That tower that occupies the centerstage, yes, it's all gin. Talk about overkill.

But we're here to talk about the food, make a move for the Terrine. Their in-house baked sourdough is to die for. And with Chef Daniele Sperindio (previously of Alkaff Mansion, Tippling Club, Open Door Policy and Open Farm Community) manning the stoves, you should keep in mind to save room for the short rib and desserts, of course.

The Galica Mini Scallops ($26) got us off to a rocky start. Small and pretty, none of it tasted much like the ocean, especially with the uncouth acidity of the clear gazpacho stealing the show. There was no heft to the scallops, no sweetness, and anybody who enjoys your scallops, intensely flavoured without all that excess water, steer clear of this dish. I implore you.

It got better. The entourage of mains that arrived at the table, each presented as dazzling pieces of art befitting of the great gatsby outfit of the establishment. Forming a verdant cascade, the fresh burrata drapes loosely over the Baked Celeriac ($24); seasoned to a T with the occasional burst of freshness from the cold pressed sugar snap peas for juxtaposition.

For a typical Daniele menu, it's never too much to ask for fancy fish. And he delivers with his Gindara Black Cod ($34). Balanced out with red grapes, glazed chevril roots and roman cauliflower, this immaculately delicate dish highlights the oiliness of the perfectly cooked slab best complimented by the pungent honey-like strands of saffron.

The string of success continues with the Chicken Breast, ratte potates, peaches, crispy skin ($26), a tight combination of familiar favourites that resonated well with all the diners at the table.

You'll find comfort in the next two dishes, the Slow Braised Short Rib ($32) which has been the hallmark success of Chef Daniele's prowess since day one. Just watch as the knife you'll taking no efforts at all to cradle slips thru that cut, like a warm blade through butter. *swoons*. To compliment that, the carrot puree is spiced with ginger, cardamon, and a myriad of other middle eastern spices, almost similar to gajar halwa. Delicious and inquisitively curious. Unadulterated pleasures continue with the Grains of Winter ($24) highlighting topinambur risotto and pearl onions. The smudges of mustard cress oil making it appealingly energetic, a quality that sets it apart from the rest of the dishes.

But, I would like to note that I would not trade Atlas's Canvas of Pasta ($30) for any other offering. Japanese wagyu beef charred and sliced, sprawls itself against a ridiculously thin and tender sheet of homemade egg pasta. Below that lies a soaringly grand beef ragu that you'll lap up gregariously with no thought for your companions.

The kitchen seemed eager to feed our bellies and our order of 2 desserts saw a supplementation of the whole she-bang. *WARNING*. This is a repeat of the reminder to please save space for the sweet endings. This is when all hell breaks loose, and all inhibitions get hurled out the window. A wave of gustatory pleasures to follow.

Pear Snow, Brandy Sabayon, Stretchable Chocolate, Pistachio sponge ($18) is minutely detailed and the chocolate lends a nice earthiness in conjunction with the moist pistachio sponge. Crepes Mille-feuille ($18) dons a skinnier coat with biscuit like crepes forming the layers instead of the usual compressed puff. It is accompanied by Strawberries two ways and milk crisp. The thought of sipping on champagne did percolate my drunken inner conscience, however I was bursting at the seams at this point and couldn't fathom that bubbly.

Another one of my favourites is the Frozen Milk Chocolate Water, Milk Ice Cream, Palmier's Brownie and Tarragon ($18). Milk meringue for the win! And that clean milk ice cream was possibly the best partner to tango with the rich cubes of brownies. You'll be foolish not to order this dessert. A configuration that's suitably familiar yet heartening, given the poached pineapple braised in spiced syrup - the Victoria Pineapple ($18) wasn't perfect as the Vanilla pannacotta struck me as a tad tasteless. Prospects of adding bourbon into that rad brown sugar ice cream flooded my mind with lustful thoughts. Kitchen experiments are definitely due.

The clash of spoons effectively takes place over the Rubian Sponge Cake ($18); note that if you were to celebrate your birthday at Atlas, this automatically becomes the default base of that said birthday cake. A winsome combination of sponge, mandarin, white chocolate and dried raspberries that struck me as splendid seeing how miraculously moist the sponge is even on its own. Springy yet retaining a slight resemblance to tres leches cake.

The final straw that really did me in, was the bowl of Warm Madeleines ($18). This is the dessert that is worth making the trip to Atlas for. Served alongside homemade jam and unsweetened cream (mostly unnecessary), this sweet ending has fun but also knows exactly what it's doing.

And there you have it, food of an out-of-town pedigree to suit the grandeur of Atlas Bar. Glad that we've bumped ways again Chef Daniele!

Atlas Grand Lobby and Bar
Parkview Square
600 North Bridge Road
t: 63964400


Unknown said...

Well written article about the food served in Atlas Bar. Rather disappointed that there was not a single review about the drinks although a couple of photos showed cocktails(i assume) were served during the meal. Yes, you made it quite clear that this article was about the food... ...but it's a shame not to do a follow-up article about the drinks, for two reasons : 1) you write well & 2) it is after all...a BAR. Thank you.

Sihan said...

Hi Tony! Thanks for stopping by. Yeh.. it's strange because I've been there a couple of times for drinks but never shared it in this review. If you have an Instagram account, please feel free to follow me on @thedrinkseeker for my thoughts on the local bar scene!