Cocktails at the Black Swan, Singapore

It is cocktail Thursday again; and even though it’s soon two months since our trip to Asia, I still have places to review. Today we have something cool for the banker types, the Black Swan in the Central Business District (CBD) of Singapore.

We were originally headed for the Powder room, which is a separate lounge inside the Black Swan. It is run by the same owner, so the cocktail list is pretty much the same. Unfortunately we were misguided by false information on their website and the Powder room was not open on a Monday. So we went for the second best thing, the bar at the Black Swan itself. It is a pretty venue, so I didn’t mind, as long as I got my cocktails. The Black Swan is located in a 1930’s Art Deco space, the former home of the Kwangtung Provincial bank, so it is worth visiting just for the look of it.

The drinks list is original, not your average Mojito but not as innovative as some of the other places I have reviewed (like Operation Dagger). I went for a Pie in the Sky with apple, rhubarb, orange bitters and some bubbly; and M for the Salty Sea Dog with house spiced-rum, ginger syrup, orgeat, fresh pineapple juice and angostura bitters. Both drinks were good, but perhaps a bit uninspiring after the week of crazy innovative cocktails in the speakeasy scene of Singapore. The prices were not that bad though with 19 SGD being on the lower side of what we had paid for our drinks in the past week. A friend of ours who came to help with the sampling opted for a beer as he was not too fond of the sweet flavors clearly dominant on the drinks list. Fruity is not for everyone.

You can also order food at the bar, and they seemed to have some Happy Hour oysters on promotion. We had just had dinner (and I don’t really like oysters anyway), so we skipped the snacks this time, but in general I like having the option to eat something in between my cocktails. Perhaps next time I can try out the food menu.

We were not that impressed, so we skipped the second round of drinks (and headed for Hong Kong 28). I am not saying the drinks were bad, but they were just plain boring in look and flavors compared to everything else we had had that week. In general the bar is nice, and I could imagine sitting there with colleagues after a long day at the office (if I worked in Singapore). This is definitely the place for groups as there is much more space than in many of the other cocktail spots in the city. However there are better places if you look at quality or creativeness of drinks, so depending on the company the Black Swan would perhaps not be my top choice.

Wineweek 14: Back to Business

This week the scenery ha changed. Colorful and tropical Singapore has changed to good old grey Sweden. I tried to take some pics from outside, but they where all too depressing. Not that I don’t like Stockholm, I love it, but this time of the year is always a bit colorless (like Helsinki, where I am from). Soon February will change to March and the anticipation of spring (with all it’s disappointing cold fronts) will lighten up the town. I expect we will be facing some cold setbacks up until the end of June, it is almost a national sport to put away your winter clothes too early, but at least there will be more light. But one thing I can say makes me extremely happy to be back, is our wonderful wine collection. After five and a half weeks of mostly disappointing (bad or too expensive) wine, I am ecstatic about all the lovely bottles at hands reach. Unfortunately M caught a cold on the flight back, so we did not really have any sparkling this weekend.

Looking back at the week, we started off well with a nice and anticipated dinner at Burnt Ends, a much talked about restaurant in Chinatown (Singapore). The service was very disappointing, and that was really a shame as the food was wonderful and that good food does not at all deserve to be paired with such sub-standard service.  A review will follow. We also continued our cocktail-tour at the Black Swan and 28 Hong Kong Street. Even though it was a Monday both places were full of life.

On our way back to Sweden we checked out the duty free selection at Frankfurt airport. The Champagne selection was a bit boring, but we picked up a few German sparkling wines to try out. Germany as a wine-country is developing in an interesting direction with a new generation of winemakers taking over the reins. We visited a wonderful shop, the Winery (review here), in London around New Year focusing mainly on German wines, and found ourselves drooling after Pinot Noirs and Sparklings alike.

After resting off the mild jet lag, we sat down on the couch, opened a bottle of red (Kloof Street Vintage 2012 from South Africa), and started looking into the future. It is time to get our business up and running. It’s not like we have been procrastinating, but our Cavas have now been sitting in the warehouse for enough time. It is time to get the sales going. So next week will be all about finalizing the paperwork. Also, it is only a week until M leaves for Portugal to meet some new producers (I will follow later for the weekend), so there is a lot to plan. After several months of communicating by email, we will finally be meeting our friends at Vieira de Sousa. They have a lovely range of Port wines we would love to add to our selection. Also, I am getting a bit hyped up after reading about some Portuguese sparkling wine producers. The grapes are new to me (Baga, Bical and Bairrada), but the production good old method Champenoise.