Every so often, a restaurant undergoes a huge change — whether it’s a relocation, manpower refresh or refurbishment — that could signal a turning point for the business. In the case of ultra-progressive Tippling Club, it has finally decided to bite the bullet and do away with its a la carte menu in favour of ever-evolving tasting menus.
Helmed by British chef-owner Ryan Clift and managed by the Spa Esprit Group, the award-winning Tippling Club was established in 2008, pioneering a special brand of modern gastronomy that reinterpreted the whole fine-dining experience with avant garde dishes that looked as good as they tasted, paired perfectly with housemade cocktails.
Don’t go there expecting starchy table linen, classical music and dated wines; located at the Duxton Hill neighbourhood, the vibe at Tippling Club is undeniably cool and casual, chic not cheap, where the food and drinks are the heroes. With a strong focus on originality, Clift, along with head chef Ayo Adeyemi and team, works hard to create seriously good dishes that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, using a blend of modern gastronomy culinary methods and a mix of their own personal styles to create their masterpieces.
Very quickly after its opening, Tippling Club was on the radar of award houses like the Miele Guide’s Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, Asia and World’s 50 Best Bars, and Cocktail’s Spirited Awards. A huge milestone for the gastro-cocktail bar was in 2013 when it bagged five awards at the World Gourmet Summit Awards of Excellence, including the coveted Restaurant of the Year and Bar of the Year. In 2014, Clift was bestowed the honour of being one of three Krug Ambassade chefs in Singapore.
There’s no word from the Michelin Guide on why Tippling Club never made it to the awards list, but we’re hoping that with the introduction of new prix fixe menus, a Michelin star might be in the future for this culinary underdog.
See also: Japanese flavour secrets revealed
The move toward tasting menus not only elevates the diner’s experience, but also, from a more practical standpoint, helps Clift and his team be more efficient in the kitchen. With a more focussed menu, the quality and provenance of ingredients sourced from an extensive network of food producers in Southeast Asia, Japan and Europe (including Clift’s own edible garden at Open Farm Community) can be that much more controlled.
“Fourteen years strong, and we still want to keep everyone on their toes when they dine with us. Tippling Club never has been one to keep stagnant; we want to evolve and develop with the times continuously”
“Our new menus are nothing short of creative and we hope that with every visit, guests will be treated to a new experience from the last time they visited.”
As always, you can expect the culinary bar to be set high and just as boundary-pushing as the menus get a slight refresh every fortnight, although it will retain crowd favourites like foie gras and scallops which will appear in various permutations. However, be warned: Other than offering a rather delightful vegetarian tasting menu, the chef will not be entertaining last-minute requests to alter the menu for those with dietary restrictions such as dairy, soy and vegan allergies or intolerance.
Recognised for its innovative, ultra-progressive cuisine, Tippling Club’s rotating menus will take you on a gastronomic dining journey that imbues a sense of excitement from unexpected flavour pairings with a touch of theatre. Whether lunch ($110++) or dinner (from $225), each multi-course menu features the best of the seasons, and comes with four snacks, five main courses, pre-dessert and petit fours, plus a curated wine list as an add-on.
Each course retains the venue’s experimental yet refined spirit pushing the extremes of ingredients and textures to create a multi-faceted dining experience. The starters, all very mouth-watering and moreish, presented the perfect harmony of colour, composition, texture and flavours, while precisely balancing protein with vegetable and carb. We can really tell that Clift spent a lot of time curating this photogenic grouping.
As a self-professed lover of cheese, my favourite snack was the steamed brioche filled with creamy 24-month-old manchego cheese custard and salty cinco Jotas iberico jamon. I also appreciated Clift’s nod to Asia with his rendition of a Japanese sweet potato waffle topped with truffle and wasabi-infused crème fraîche, and tobiko.
For more lifestyle, arts and fashion trends, click here for Options Section
The dynamic degustation is almost a showcase of Japan’s freshest and finest such as the chilled tomato gelee made with Japanese fruit tomato water and wasabi distillate topped with Japanese heirloom tomatoes, or horse mackerel from Kyosho and scallops from Hokkaido.
While the decadently delicious foie gras cheesecake (a buttery block of liver paté) gets a little garnishing from Japan Amaou strawberries and Japanese eight spice, the succulent sirloin from Rangers Valley Australia enjoys a three-day marination in shio koji — yet another perfect example of East-meets-West pairings.
As a twist to an already impressive meal, dessert comes in the form of a Bounty-inspired confection featuring a generous serving of white chocolate and Tahitian lime cremeuxs served on a bitter chocolate taco over coconut sorbet, then garnished with loads more coconut shavings and juice. The perfect libation to pair with this coconut affair is a white rum-based cocktail made by head bartender Andrew Loudon, infused with basil, wildflower honey and Lillet blanc which transports us to the beaches of South America.
Wines take the spotlight at these tastings showcasing mostly new world labels from Italy, Australia, France and Portugal. One of them is a house label chardonnay produced by Peccavi Winery in Margaret River, inspired and made for Clift’s wife, called Pour Mon Amour “Tippling Club Edition” Chardonnay 2018. Another highlight is a 1989 white port from Douro Val- ley Portugal, a delightfully sweet vintage to complement the saltiness of the foie gras cheesecake.
38 Tanjong Pagar Road
Tel: +65 6475 2217
Email: [email protected]
Lunch: Mon–Tues & Thurs–Sat | 12pm – 3pm
Dinner: Mon–Tues & Thurs–Sat | 6pm – 10.30pm
Closed on Wed and Sun
FOOD IMAGES: Anil Riard