nightlife

Anti:dote: New Head Barmistress Brings Innovative Cocktail Pairings & Unique Dishes

Last Updated: December 8, 2016

Written by Herman Low

Anti:dote - Front

Fans of Anti:dote can look forward to a brand new experience as new Head Craftsman Gina Kent partners with Head Chef Tryson Quek to introduce a refined selection of handcrafted cocktails that pair with Asian inspired modern Tapas dishes.

Guests can still expect Anti:dote to stay true to its roots of showcasing non-conventional cocktails that celebrates the craftsmanship of classical cocktail making with a touch of modern experimental mixology that will surely not disappoint.

Anti:dote - Interior

Be expected to be greeted by a chic yet modern interior that oozes local heritage influences. The urban space gives off a comforting warm vibe that includes a sophisticated seven meter wide chandelier centrepiece, comprising 26,000 pieces of Borosilicate glass pieces pieced together with stainless steel stems.

The bar’s glass counter complements the black polished floors which spots a unique modern Pernakan lace embroidery. A nice touch to the overall design of the place.

Guests wanting to have a closer look, can do so at the open show kitchen and bar where the bar craftsman and chefs will be working hand-in-hand to excite your senses.

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Gina’s artistry clearly shines through as her recipes are based on premium spirits and market-fresh ingredients, house-made aromatic bitters and liqueurs along with flavoured sodas that are balanced with fragrant herbs and flowers (Cuban mint, cinnamon basil and marigolds).

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The cocktail selection reflects Gina’s experiences in developing menus across various bars in Los Angeles. With each cocktail being more than just a drink, Gina’s creative spirit lends itself to developing a story for each cocktail.

Frankly, I’m more intrigued and would enjoy a cocktail more when it is inspired by a particular story or ingredient. Gina does this beautifully and creates the foundation of the drink by using her own housemade bitters and flavoured liqueurs, bringing together different elements to form a well-balanced cocktail.

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The second lady helming the charge at Anti:dote, Assistant Head Craftsman Bannie Kang carefully puts together the final touches on our cocktails for the night.

No pushover herself, she won the Barcadi Legacy Cocktail Competition 2016 with her presentation of an alcoholic version of a traditional Korean flower and fruit punch.

Anti:dote - Head Chef Tryson Quek

Credit – Anti:dote

Gina’s cocktail creations pair beautifully with Head Chef, Tryson Quek’s selection of modern tapas with Asian influences. Expect to be blown away by the creative ingenuity of the duo.

Thankfully, we had front row seats to watch the duo work their magic. Here are some of the creative dishes and cocktails that we had for the night.

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We started off the night with some light snacks, a platter of two types of crackers King Crab Skin, Sakura Ebi Rice Cracker, Red Pepper Cream ($10). Starting off with the King Crab Skin before moving on to the heavier salty flavours from the Sakura Ebi Rice Cracker that contains anchovies as well.

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For a moment we actually believed Anti:dote prepared a tube of toothpaste for each guest as a kind gesture for after our meal. We were surprised when we were instructed to squeeze it onto our crackers.

The orange coloured cream turned out to be red pepper cream that contained roasted garlic, roasted red peppers and cream cheese. The mild spice and creamy textures helped to balance out against the saltier and tart flavours from the crab and ebi, which made for a nice start to the meal.

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Oysters are a common pairing for cocktails, but Irish oysters are a first for me. The Irish No 3 Oyster, Cucumber Yuzu Pearl, Citrus Horseradish Snow ($23/half dozen, $38/one dozen) has a firm and plump texture that is a result of spending three years in Irish waters, and another subsequent three months in French waters before being harvested.

Paired with a sweet and sparkling Champagne Cocktail ($23), it harmonizes well with the natural sweetness of the oysters offering a smooth and creamy finish.

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We were presented with a beautifully platter with pieces of Chicken Noisette ($10), a crispy chicken nugget mixed with Foie Gras to enhance the flavours of the chicken.

Each piece is topped with English mustard for acidity and fragrant autumn truffle, served with a potato foam dip that is infused with joselito (acorn-fed ham) and truffle to achieve a richer flavour.

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The Chicken Noisette is paired with the Modern Woman ($23), a gin-based cocktail that is a take on two classic cocktails – The White Lady and 20th Century.

What better way to honour the modern woman of today than through a cocktail. The acidity in the drink helps to cut the heaviness and fat of the chicken dish.

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Head Chef Tryson’s reverse intepretation of the classical taco is outstanding. The Burnt Corn Taco with Smoked Ricotta Cheese ($14) is served on a bed of smoked sandalwood to provide an intense earthy aroma, and of course an amazing photo opportunity.

The taco shell is made using spring roll skin and glazed in maple syrup for an Asian twist, each shell is then filled with fresh corn, smoked ricotta cheese and a dash of sea salt. Pop the entire piece in your mouth to enjoy combination of textures and intense flavours of sweet corn and creamy cheese.

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Rappaccini’s Daughter ($23) showcases Gina’s innovation of introducing a blackberry and rosemary shrub (vinegar based fruit liqueur) to a cocktail. Gina draws inspiration from the works of famed American novelist, Nathanial Hawthorne.

Relating the tale of a botanist’s daughter named Beatrice who shares an intimate relationship with poisionous plants. The tequila based cocktail pairs perfectly as a Mexican pairing with the burnt corn taco.

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After the lighter snacks, we moved on to the bigger plates. The Confit Norwegian Salmon ($18) is first sous-vide at 65 degress celsius for nine minutes to help preserve its omega-3 fatty acids and served with a burnt butter shoyu with pickled cucumbers, salmon floss and burnt butter shoyu.

The playful presentation of serving in a metal tin, gives room for the diner’s imaginaton to go wild. The burnt butter shoyu really helped to lift the flavours of the salmon without overpowering it, with the pickled cucumbers adding a refreshing touch to the dish and providing the added crunch in this dish.

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Chef Tryson has done it again with melt in your mouth Char-grilled short ribs ($20) that have been sous-vide at 65 degree Celsius for nine hours. The flavours of the short ribs are then enhanced by an Asian inspired mixture of Korean shoyu, sesame oil and Chinese BBQ sauce.

To add a touch of sweetness, and to cut through the richness in this dish, pickled onions cooked in sherry vinegar, onion jam, sweet and crisp onions chips and chestnut zest made from grated frozen chestnuts are used to complete the dish.

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As a cocktail pairing for this dish, Gina introduces Mother’s Hand ($23) which is a bourbon-based drink that incorporates a sous-vide mixture of shiitake and porcini mushrooms and toasted white sesame. Be warned that it’s not for the faint-hearted.

The cocktail is inspired from the Korean term “Umma-Son”, meaning “Mother’s Hand” from Bannie Kang and draws reference to Asian mother’s cooking where these ingredients are often used.

With a hint of nuttiness and spice at the end of each sip, the cocktail is garnished at the edges with pulverised white sesame candy that you can lick off while having your drink.

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We were dying with anticipation when we were told that we would be served cheesecake in shaped like LEGO bricks for dessert. Paying homage to Chef Tryson’s favourite childhood toy, the LEGO bricks are actually Pineapple cheesecake ($12) that is served with yuzu gel, ginger soil and sugar-free Hokkaido milk ice-cream.

A pineapple core is revealed when cut into the cheesecake, and complemented by the other garnishes on the plate, including dehydrated pineapple chips, fresh pineapple sorbet and yuzu gel with ginger syrup.

We truly enjoyed this playful interpretation of the dessert and well thought-out complementing textures on the plate.

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You know a cocktail is worth ordering when it is named after the Head Craftsman. This was a summer drink served at Harvard & Stone in L.A. where Gina was working at, where customers kept asking asking for this drink.

The Gina Colada ($23) is a mix of rhum agricole (cane juice rum), coconut liqueur, banana liqueur, coconut cream with Chinese Five Spice syrup, ginger and cinnamon and pineapple & lime juice.

A perfect sweet finish that is balanced with the spices, ginger and cinnamon, making for a good end to our experience at Anti:dote.

Anti:dote - Interior 3

Come by Anti:dote to experience the magical combination of modern tapas and bespoke cocktail pairings, made possible by two creative geniuses. We guarantee it will be a night to remember!

Expected damage: $25 – $40

Anti:dote: 80 Bras Basah Road, Level 1 Fairmont Singapore, Singapore 189560 | Tel: 64315315 | Website | Facebook

Opening hours: Daily: 5pm till late

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