food

NATIVE: Exotic Cocktails In Amoy Street Concocted With Ants & Other Foraged Ingredients From Around Asia

Last Updated: February 13, 2017

Written by Nicholas Chia

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Drinks made from fresh quality ingredients is what you’ll be getting at NATIVE. Housed on Amoy Street, the bar has a hole in the wall concept and is located on the second floor — simply look out for a wooden door with a “NATIVE” sign on it and you’re good to go.

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The bar has a nautical theme, taking you on a journey across the seas as you sip on their cocktails. The owner and mixologist, Vijay, enjoys travelling to forage for regional ingredients, and the most impressive being ants.

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The alcohols in the bar also come from different regions in Asia, instead of your typical rum or vodka. Vijay believes in sourcing for ingredients from around Asia for an authentic experience — as with the glasses, furniture and music.

The bar centres around self-sustainability, from using recycled products to every part of a fruit. Furthermore, if you manage to catch a glimpse of their coasters, you’ll find that they are actually dried lotus leaves, re-purposed to sit your drinks atop.

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The Antz ($23) is a Thai rendition of a drink by Chef Alex Atala from DOM in Sao Paolo. Instead of Brazilian products the original drink uses, the same ingredients but of a different variety are soured from Thailand instead.

As its name suggests, Antz contains Thai Crunchy Ants that Vijay forages for in Thailand. The ants, along with basil meringue are placed atop a basil leaf and rested on the mouth of the cup. The drink itself consists of Thai Rhum, aged sugarcane, coconut yogurt, soursop and salt baked tapioca.

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The little bouche on the top is a refreshing bite in contrast with the rest of the drink. The ants and meringue provided a textural contrast while the flavour of the Thai basil leaf shines through. Don’t be creeped out by these six legged ants, they are nutty, zesty and crunchy; an experience unlike any other.

The drink itself exudes a tropical feel, highlighting each individual ingredient. Unlike most cocktails, the Thai Rhum is prominent in the drink and the creaminess of the yoghurt creates a rich mouth-feel. The bits of tapioca in the drink also add a nice textural contrast against the smooth drink.

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Next, we had the Ikura ($21), a Japanese-inspired sweet-and-savoury drink. Beneath a mix of Yuzu Acid and and Sparkling Sake lies a couple of ikura (salmon roe). The drink reminded us of a spiked version of sparkling lemonade. It was particularly refreshing due to the acidity of the yuzu. The sparkling sake had a subtly sweet flavour and the bubbles made it light and fun to drink.

Slowly sip your drink and when you get to the bottom get your palate ready for a huge surprise. The unorthodox ikura in the sweet drink provided a strong savoury flavour, a contrast to the sweet, sparkling drink. Although we didn’t really appreciate the faint fishy flavour, the combination was indeed interesting.

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Lastly, the Pineapple Arrack ($22), made with Ceylon Arrack, coconuts and pineapples. In this drink, the whole pineapple is used, from the flesh to the skin. The flesh is coated in spices, grilled, then frozen, while the drink contains an infusion of strained pineapple and coconut husk extract.

You may enjoy the grilled pineapple before, after, or while you’re enjoying your cocktail for a spiced, chilled treat. The Sri Lankan spices in the cocktail are highlighted without overshadowing the natural flavour of the pineapple. The sweet-tart drink remains light and refreshing despite the use of the strong spices.

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We enjoyed our time at NATIVE form the decor, to the cups and the drinks. An experience at this quaint cocktail bar takes you and your palate on a sensory journey across Asia.

Sick of your usual pub or bar? Head down to NATIVE with your friends for exclusive cocktails like no other today!

Expected Damage: $25/pax

Address: 52a Amoy Street, Singapore 069878 | Opening Hours: (Mon-Sat) 06:30-00:30 | Tel: 81396433 | Website

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