Those looking for a relatively hidden or obscure place to dine in Singapore might be surprised to find one right smack in the city’s shopping district. Four Seasons Singapore recently renovated the outdoor area of One Ninety Bar, calling this extension [email protected] Although [email protected] is not really marketed as a separate venue, the lush ambiance and presence of verdant foliage make it look like so. [email protected] also has a distinct menu, with a keen focus on seasonal greens and plant-based options. As an extension of the bar, one can also find a myriad of drinks here with a similar focus.
The drinks are concocted by bar manager Gabriel Carlos who previously came from Manhattan Bar a few doors down. Botanical craft cocktails such as the Theatrum Botanicum and Flor De Jamaica are the main draw here. Made with Archipelago Gin from the Philippines, house-made herb syrup and clarified lemon juice; Theatrum Botanicum is a tribute to botanist John Parkinson who catalogued more than 3,000 species of herbal varietals. My tall glass similarly came with a variety of herbs.
The vodka-based Flor De Jamaica, on the other hand, is an interpretation of Agua de Jamaica. It is on the sweet side and is concocted with roselle and strawberry shrub and classic Italian bitters.
The Chef de Cuisine at [email protected] is Pierre Barusta. He is of Vietnamese heritage and it shows in the food menu.
I had a variety of starters. They’re quite light – in keeping with the venue’s theme so it’s best to order a couple for sharing even if you are only dining as a party of two. The Vietnamese Summer Rolls (S$15) is a good vegetarian option. It’s markedly thinner than the traditional Goi Cuon and Four Seasons’ version has flower petals within but I like how the skin was less rubbery than what I’m often used to in Vietnamese joints.
Next, we had the Vietnamese Salad (S$24). This is another noteworthy vegetarian option, simply because of the relatively wide variety of herbs used. The salad came with Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese fish sauce) dressing, giving it a multi-dimensional flavor. There’s also some prawn crackers on the side.
We also had a serving of oysters dressed in ponzu. While I liked the creaminess of the oysters, I thought the amount of ponzu was quite a lot and made the oysters a tad too salty for my liking.
A must-order here is the Hamachi Tiradito (S$32). Citrus soy sauce is served on the side. One need not put in too much of it to appreciate the freshness of these delectable morsels.
[email protected] has a number of plant-based mains and I’ve heard good things about them. However, as I had an inclination to eat meat that day, I went for the Wagyu Beef Pho (S$45). There are two cuts of wagyu used here including short ribs and striploin while the balls were made with regular beef. The dish itself is what one would expect from a bowl of pho, except for the generous amount of meat in it. Overall, I found the wagyu extremely tender and each piece easily broke apart upon devouring.
For desserts, we had a sweet ending from One Ninety Restaurant brought over. The Dark Chocolate Souffle with Darjeeling Ice Cream often features in the restaurant’s set menu. Put the ice cream on top of the souffle and it falls under as with quick sand, revealing moist and warm chocolate underneath. Despite its chocolate nature, it did not feel heavy on the tummy. This is one of talented Pastry Chef Audrey Yee’s creations. She has always been tasked to create desserts for Four Seasons Singapore’s various outlets – including one I tried at Jiang Nan Chun a few months back. Her creations never disappoint!
If you are not a chocolate lover, you can also check out their other desserts. Another popular option is the Anjou Pear Frangipani Tart with Vanilla Cream (S$15). The highlight here is the pear filling in the middle – just the right texture and not too sweet.
I chose to dine in the day as I wanted to appreciate the alfresco space with natural light. For those who are afraid of heat, don’t fret. There is still a roof above your head and the place is surrounded with fans. If you prefer to come at night, you can get freshly-grilled satay for free with every order of a drink.
[email protected] (inside One-Ninety Bar)
Four Seasons Hotel Singapore
190 Orchard Boulevard
Tel: +65 6831 7671
Daily, 8am to 10.30pm