In darkness, comes light. Amidst the uncertainty Covid-19 has brought to Singapore's dining scene, Lumo – which means "light" in the constructed language of Esperanto – is a shining beacon of hope. It has everything it takes for a F&B business to survive in this day and age: a novel cocktail programme that runs the gamut of low ABV concoctions to those that will have you stumbling out the door, sharing plates of glistening meats straight from the wood-fire grill and a fun, convivial atmosphere peppered with American rock classics from the noughties.
With social distancing measures in place, you can't have a seat by the bar, but you can still watch head bartender Josiah Chee whip up concoctions inspired by breakfast staples. Milk is reimagined in the Salt Honey Fizz ($20), a riff on the classic Ramos Gin Fizz made with vodka, caramelised honey, sea salt and a blend of seven different plant-based milks, which makes it more challenging to achieve the drink's signature froth. It still makes for a refreshing start before you move on to boozier creations like the Patty Royale ($20), take on a vesper martini that utilises Impossible distillate – yes they run the plant-based meat through a rotary evaporator – London dry gin and fermented tomato mushroom vermouth and shiso bitters for that added umami.
If all that sounds a little too newfangled and experimental to you, then the good news is that the food menu is a lot more approachable – relying on age-old techniques like wood-fire grilling and fermentation. Case in point, who doesn't like grilled chicken wings? Lumo's chicken mid-wings ($17) are brined and dry-aged for a couple of days before they're finished over an open flame and tossed in a sweet, sour and spicy sauce. The tempura Mexican tomatillos and Japanese momotaro tomatoes ($16) are also sure to please as will the potato hash ($15) with home-cured duck prosciutto and sour cream.
But the real reason to visit lies in the meats and vegetables charred over the wood-fire grill. Medium-rare cubes of Westholme Wagyu ($32) come topped with a shallot confit and pickled turnip and a whole Sakura pork chop ($34) – a mixed breed of Kurobuta and Duroc – looks pretty in pink, dressed in a whisky and raisin veal jus. For a balanced meal, don't forget a side of burnt leek ($14) or roasted cauliflower ($15) as well.