Speakeasy, now serving up savory gastro dishes for dinner.
By day Spiffy Dapper is an uber cool coffee house – I’ve never been anywhere that serves a unicorn tear tea before – but come 6pm it morphs into one of our favourite speakeasy bars. Occupying the 2nd floor of one of the beautiful old shophouses on Amoy Street, Spiffy Dapper is intentionally easy to miss.
Look out for the ‘Dapper Coffee’ sign to help guide the way and walk up the staircase to the first landing where you’ll reach two beautifully engraved doors. Push these open and you’ll find yourself transported back in time to a bygone era that screams of old school cool.
An impressive array of liquor lines the bar (they stock 150 types of gin alone), lighting is suitably dark and moody, whilst the hum of 1920’s music fills the air. In terms of decor and atmosphere, Spiffy Dapper hits the nail on the head. This bar is fun, quirky and a great place to come for a cheeky cocktail any night of the week.
Famed for the cocktails, food has seemingly always taken a back seat as the previous menu was limited to a few tapas style bar snacks. Not any more. We were here to sample the latest additions to an updated menu, which included more side dishes and main courses. Before we did, however, we thought we wouldn’t be doing our job properly if we neglected to try some of the delicious cocktails. It’s alright – you can thank us later.
Though you can order a classic cocktail here, I prefer leaving it to the discretion of the bar staff to surprise me with something new each time I visit. Your server will helpfully ask questions to get a sense of your palate and ensure they concoct something to your taste. This time I asked for a gin based cocktail that was refreshing with a herbal base. The result? A Gin basil sour that I was exactly in the mood for.
Served in a martini glass and garnished with a fresh basil leaf and dehydrated slice of star fruit, this was a simple, clean, fragrant creation. The basil was subtle yet present, and really brought out the juniper notes of the gin. The base flavour was a nice balance of sour and sweet. it was so good that Gin basil sour is being added to my ‘favourite cocktail list’ as I type…
We also ordered a mocktail and were pleasantly surprised to find this too was delicious. Created using a mix of pineapple, passionfruit, grapefruit, lime juice, and a dash of honeydew this was a tall, zingy drink that wasn’t overly sweet. Highly drinkable and refreshing.
I have looked long and hard for a decent Old Fashioned in Singapore and I’d heard on the grapevine the Spiffy Dapper offering was worth a shot. When it arrived within two minutes of my ordering, I have to admit – I was disappointed. To provide the sweetness that is integral to this drink, I always prefer a sugar cube to be dissolved and muddled rather than just using sugar syrup.
It takes time to make it this way, but for me it’s worth the wait. I could have also done with a touch more bitters. None the less, it was still perfectly drinkable and quite frankly, in my eyes there is nothing more beautiful than seeing a giant ice cube floating iceberg-esque in a sea of whisky.
As there is no cocktail menu as such the price of drinks can be somewhat of a surprise when presented with your bill. Most bespoke cocktails range within the $22 – $26 bracket, though it’s best to ask your server at the time of ordering if you’re in any way uncertain.
Over to Cassidy to fill you in on all things food. Yes there are 2 experts to tackle this article.
Kicking things off with the heartiest item on the new menu, The Spiffy Dapper Burger ($25.00), is prefect for devouring if you are feeling ravenous – both before, but I can imagine especially after ponying up at the bar – or sharing with a mate.
The meat is notably tender and flavorful with a 70% beef and 30% pork blend. It is also a hearty portion weighing in at about 280g. The texture of the burger patty is soft and similar to that of a meatball. The final product is completed with a toasted bun, melted cheese, lettuce, slices of streaky bacon and a homemade ‘old fashion’ inspired ketchup.
The unique ‘old fashion’ influenced sauce is applied generously and has a palpable bourbon flavor. The taste is not too overpowering and is a likable departure from the more predictable burger toppings.
Next up we sampled the Fully Loaded Baked Avocados ($14.00). This dish is a modern take on the common potato skin, but instead of potatoes, the chef at Spiffy Dapper uses, you guessed it, avocado.
The avocado was perfectly ripe, which is not an easy feat in Singapore! You have no idea how many bad avocados I’ve purchased or had to throw away in my day. I digress… The avocados are loaded with cheese and baked.
Fresh out of the oven the avocado is topped with a generous spoonful of sour cream and finished with chopped bacon and a sprinkle of green onions. Since the baked avocado pretty much encompasses all of my most favorite ingredients in the world, I was in heaven enjoying this dish.
Although it probably won’t fill you up for dinner, this is a great dish to share, or enjoy with a cocktail or two. No one likes drinking on an empty stomach after all.
Macaroni and cheese, in general, is a strong contender for my death-row meal. The Mac & Cheese ($10.00) at Spiffy Dapper is a nice addition to their new menu and sure to quickly become a fan favorite.
Don’t let the familiar sight of the trademark Kraft-looking noodles fool you, this dish has a very homemade taste. The mac and cheese is made with parmesan and cheddar cheeses and without the addition of flour so it’s kind of healthy, right?
The overall texture of the cheese is thin, while the taste is thick. The dish is topped with decent sized buttery, toasted croutons for an added crunch. I would consider this a very smart late-night order.
Another new dinner item on the Spiffy Dapper menu is the Baked Chicken with Spiced Quinoa ($16.00). Here, you will find a juicy baked chicken thigh on a bed a quinoa and topped with local Kranji organic sprouts for added freshness.
The most distinguishing characteristic of this plate is the finishing sauce which is made of roasted peppers, cream and an aromatic blend of Morracan spices. The sauce is not too overpowering and nicely compliments the chicken.
This dish overall has a pretty mild flavor scheme, so I assume would pair nicely with an extra stiff drink.
Catering to the occasional vegetarian patron, Spiffy Dapper has added a Tarte Flambeé au Jardin ($22.00) to their menu. This tarte has a purred cauliflower base and is topped with a central caramelized egg yolk and scatterings of spinach, sun dried tomatoes, chunks of squash and dollops of herbal cheese.
Call it a pizza if you like, this dish is great for sharing and snacking on. I particularly enjoyed the melody of flavors and how the dish was not too heavy and filling. There is nothing worse than indulging too much on the food menu at the bar and having to go home early because you were too full – or has that only happened to me?
Spiffy Dapper have got it right yet again. Not only is the interior cooler than an eskimo’s pocket, not only are the cocktails well made and delicious, now they’ve gone and created a food menu that contains some real gastro delights.
It also means that once you’ve pulled up a pew at the bar you can remain in situ to line your stomach, making it even easier to indulge in a few more cocktails. As they don’t come cheap we’ll leave it to you to decide whether or not that’s a good thing…
Expected Damage (for food): $10.00 – $40.00 per pax
The Spiffy Dapper: 73 Amoy St, Singapore 069892 | Tel: 8722 4953 | Hours: 6:00pm – 1:00am | Website