Operation Dagger: #6 in Asia's 50 Best Bar launches new seasonal menu

Bone marrow, tomato beer, fermented red cabbage, cucumber skin and goats cheese? I threw a furtive uneasy glance at Luke Whearty as he hands me the new seasonal menu of 'dangerous drinking water' and 'natural' ferments, comfortably bubbling away underneath the staircase leading down to the tipple dungeon.

Recently awarded #6 in Asia's 50 Best Bars, Operation Dagger is in a world of its own, especially where speakeasies are slowly bed-ridden in a twist of fate, and Asian-themed libations to match Mod-Sin cuisine are superfluous. This strikingly raw bedecked bar has no identity problem. Drinks are cutting edge with the star power being it's holistic savoury approach. No need for solid sustenance here when you can get flavors as arresting as banana bread and fermented coconut wine translated into joy juices.

Well, of course, the option of food remains and the kitchen, recently refurbished, pushes out a myriad of dishes. Not exactly food that fulfils your wildest dreams, but one that speaks in a congruent tone with the peculiar drinks program.

Upon seating, guests will be treated to a tiny snack to jazz up their palate. A cuboid of melon compressed in gin and coriander on goats cheese mousse and sprinkled with cucumber skin matcha, aligns the jaded taste buds with the adventurous drinks menu. Start off with the Orange ($22 nett), a ballsy 7-day ferment of many things orange. Orange, carrot, melon and honey exudes an exotic chocolate tint on the nose. It is refreshing and invites thoughts of green bean 'fries' and Soy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds ($6). While these snacks are dangerously addictive, there are some that do not thread the same path. The Lettuce Heart ($8) toying with an unorthodox concept that thirst quenchers in search of poison would be keen on chowing on rabbit food to that extreme.

I would recommend the Burrata ($16) instead. Flanked by heirloom tomatoes, drizzled with parsley oil and finished with sorrel, it's creamy heart seduces you to indulge in the bar's in-house made fermented tipples, or perhaps the G.O.A.T ($25 nett)? The latter is all kinds of peculiar with goat cheese re-distilled spirit infused with honey, thyme and pineapple. Before you're quick to dismiss this, truth is, I don't even like goats cheese, yet this concoction worked like magic. The goat cheese imparts a musky and salty quality as the pineapple does its job in revving up the drink with its mildly tangy mannerisms. It actually works!!!

Perfect in its simplicity, Luke continues the showing with the Tomato Beer ($22 nett), a novel and invigorating concoction that highlights the resinous and grassy notes of galaxy hops. Have this with the Steak Tartare ($24) for a glorious affair of less sinful proportions. A product of tons of market research, the tartare has no airs. The roughly chopped tenderloin steak married with capers, gherkins and mustard may just be one of the best things to happen in the Singapore bar food scene in recent times.

Operation Dagger may bewilder most with its menu closely resembling a full dining experience, but upon proper examination, you'll discover a list peppered with natural beauties and little-known flavor combinations that come together with a combustible romance of  a Romeo and Juliet love affair. Minimal-intervention, natural ferments brewing under the staircase form the backbone of this commendable selection, and staff are only too happy to help you dip your toes into unfiltered territory.

Operation Dagger
7 Ann Siang Hill
t: 6438 4057

Operating Hours:
Tuesday - Saturday: 6pm - 12am

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