When real estate comes in at a premium, DSTLLRY’s artfully sparse, studio-lit doorway and spacious main room makes quite the visual statement.
This is owner Andrew Lum’s first F&B venture, after making a name for himself with music and photography. He’s corralled a team of chefs led by Jeremy Chang to fill the dim room with the heady nose of browning butter and bonito, and jetted in Red Chuang from Woo Taipei for the bar.
The bar grub options were still limited on our visit. But what we sampled – the warm bowl of 63.5ºC eggs with salmon roe, fried wonton skin shards and a yuzu ponzu sauce ($10), and a tumble of duck confit cubes ($25) – speak promisingly for the reservationsonly omakase sets ($95/11 courses, available for dinner) and lunch rice bowls like A4 grade Miyazaki wagyu ribeye dons ($38).
Cocktails come in similar nomenu fashion, but Chuang takes bespoke cocktail ($25) orders from behind the wood-topped bar. Communicating is a bit hard – new age Asian tunes undulate from professional-grade speakers – and Chuang’s soft-spoken nature can make things tougher. But work with him and lighter-bodied cocktails ($25) are your reward.
The drinks are by no means weak, but Chuang’s version of a spirit-forward drink yields a mix of Nespresso, porter and mezcal with the mouthfeel of cold-brewed coffee. And Johnnie Walker Black with grapefruit juice and shiitake mushroom dust hits hard and fast without kicking its way down like an Old Fashioned might. In round two, star anise is smoked in an egg shell to add whiffs of herb to colour another mezcal cocktail. Crème de violette, Galliano liqueur, absinthe and Canadian Club are also cleverly incorporated into a complex drink that turns creamy to liquorice in each sip.
Hip but with substance, DSTLLRY is packed each night with well-wishers and friends who greet Lum with a handshake and congratulatory pat on the back. Give it some time, and word of his promising concept will spread.
#01-01 Infinite Studios
21 Media Circle
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sat noon-3pm, 6pm-midnight; Sun 6pm-midnight|