Author: Alex Chua
beGin takes a typical gin – usually drank in a traditional English-style habitat with upholstered furnishing – and gives it a chic new spin. Situated upstairs Singapore’s oldest traditional English Pub – The Penny Black, beGin is the only speakeasy bar that houses over 50 gins from different countries. Gin lovers can sample the vast selection in different ways (neat, with tonic or in fashionable cocktail) and pair it with savoury British-Indian small plates. Expect colours, delicious bites and upbeat music with friendly bartenders tucked inside this rustic, moodily-lit speakeasy.
Starting off the course is the Royal Chatanee (S$4), which consists a medley of mild to punchy dips – Tomato, Chilli & Ginger Chutney, Asian Salsa and aromatic Spiced Cilantro Mint & Coconut dip. This grazing platter with refreshing dips is good to awaken the palate for subsequent courses.
Popping into the Crab bomb-a ($13 for 5 pieces) has that savoury oomph of seafood satisfaction. The curry sauce, hidden within the light hollow crisp, is made with beGin’s in-house spice mix for that unique kick. Very addictive and easy to pop in a few.
Appearance can be quite deceiving. BeGIN’s bestseller the Samboo-sa Pasties ($11 for 3 pieces) is a modern interpretation of the humble curry puffs. The chicken has that fiery tandoori masala taste, encased in a fluffy crisp choux pastry for that lovely crunch.
A definite crowd-favourite, the nacho del goa ($15 for 5 pieces) is a twist to the classic butter chicken. Sitting atop nacho-shaped papadums, the prawns are coated with buttery northern Indian Sauce and onion yogurt. It’s not enough to pop in just one of these tasties.
The Cheeky Nigiri is perhaps my personal favourite among the delectable bar bites, partly due to its tender meatiness. Made of beef cheeks, yellow sushi rice and vindaloo sauce, this can simply be a meal of itself.
Enough with the food. Now for the drinks. LAVENDER ($25) is inspired by HRH Queen Elizabeth II’s luscious lavender garden. A dome once lifted releases smoke that unveils the dignified, feminine cocktail. Taste of floral and, with its opal pink, slightly girly drink, but I love it still. No judge.
For those who are into adventurous drinks, the Jagmohan ($25) is a curry and clove spiced tequila mix. Essentially Northern India in a drink, this unassuming cocktail is exotic and tastes of spices, completes with the tomato, chili and ginger chutney on the side with fried crisps.
KOKO ($23) is that decadently well-balanced cocoa-infused rum die-hard chocolate fans would find irresistible. Performed with a ‘fire’ show – igniting the dehydrated orange atop the rum – this fiery concoction is creamy, mellow-sweet cocoa and tastes just like a dessert by itself, which I simply adore!
27a Boat Quay, The Penny Black Upstairs, Singapore 049817
Operating Hours: Mondays to Saturdays: 5pm – 1am
Author: Alex Chua