Tess Bar & Kitchen (Singapore)

Tess Bar & Kitchen @ Seah Street
Unless we’re tasked to write a cocktail story, we don’t often track down the best cocktail bars and rarely do we blog about them. But Tess Bar & Kitchen (“Tess”) – named for its address at Thirty-Eight Seah Street – recently caught our eye.
It’s not just because former Bitters & Love bartender, Steven Long, presides over the bar, which, by the way, serves up some incredibly delicious cocktails (both bespoke and classics). Try Scandalous Pear (S$21), a concoction of gin, lemon, egg white and pear with port puree, from the list of 12 house signatures on the menu; alternatively, just profile your favourite flavours to Long and he’ll shake-up something for you.
The lounge
The sua wood communal dining table
Thanks to one of the owners, who founded Singapore’s foremost designer furniture and lighting boutique, the 60-seat low-lit space is a minimalist stunner. Comprising 3 distinct spaces: a lounge; a main dining area next to a well-stocked bar; and a sua wood communal dining table for bigger groups, the establishment is dotted with branded designer furniture and lightings that will put the vast majority of furniture galleries to shame, think low-slung Eames LCW lounge chairs, Magis Stool_One bar stools and Foscarini Diesel wall lamps. The sand-down walls lined with swatches of railway sleepers and treated corroded steel pieces give the place a rough hewn warmth, balanced by the clean lines of the designer pieces.
Baby octopus, chorizo, sundried tomatoes
Mushrooms with pumpkin puree ravioli
Wagyu cubes with bone marrow
Deep-fried pork belly
With former L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon sous chef, Martin Wong, helming the semi-open kitchen, the gourmet bar bites are hardly an afterthought. Standouts from our tasting included a salad of baby octopus with chorizo and sundried tomatoes (S$9), a medley of mushrooms with pumpkin puree-stuffed ravioli (S$10) and, if you want mains to share, wagyu cubes on a log of luscious bone marrow (S$28). Also order the crispy pork belly (S$9), a house signature; instead of roasting the tile of meat to perfection, Wong tosses it into a deep fryer after time in the sous-vide machine. It’s not the best we’ve had but it’s worth a try. The smoked duck breast with foie gras teamed with braised lentils and blueberry compote (S$16.80), however, does not do justice to an otherwise smooth-sailing dinner, no thanks to the use of commercially available smoked duck (a hunk of the more pricey magret de canard would have worked magically).
All’s cool with Tess if you have a glass of cocktail in hand and order the right bites. Surrounded by the right companions, this is one place we wouldn’t mind hanging out all night.
38 Seah Street, Singapore 188 394 | +65- 6337 7355 | tessbar.com
© Evelyn Chen 2013
Please note that the reviews published on this blog are sometimes hosted. I am under no obligation to review every restaurant I’ve visited. If I do, the reviews are 100% my own.

 

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