Yes, it's another high-end cocktail bar in Chinatown, but don't start yawning yet. From surreal eye candy to a rollicking soundtrack breezing between classic rock and Motown funk, Keong Saik newcomer Potato Head Folk nails the flippant, friendly vibe they boast at their Seminyak, Bali location – easily one of South-East Asia’s trendiest bars. Oh yeah, the drinks are pretty special, too.
As we’ve seen in other ballyhooed cocktail lounges in town, slick branding or a big name doesn’t guarantee that things will be done right, but Potato Head Folk manages it with fun and flamboyance, even while juggling split personalities: burger joint Three Buns occupies the first two floors, artsy cocktail club Studio 1939 is nestled on the third, and a twinkle-lit tiki bar operates on the building’s lovely open-air rooftop.
Studio 1939 is located halfway up a winding checkered staircase decked out with vintage knick-knacks and slightly sinister motifs of sailor boys and fairytale figures, a fantastical concept inspired by the Boy’s Own series from Australian artist and the Folks’ design consultant David Bromley. Classy and cool without a hint of pretentiousness, this third-floor bar is the highlight of this lovingly-restored shophouse. Plush chesterfields, vintage rattan furnishings, and wooden flooring lend easy, effortless style to the dimly lit, high-ceilinged room, and the semi-circular marble bar gives a sense of both space and intimacy.
There are 20 handcrafted cocktails and a range of top-shelf spirits and Hitachino Nest craft beers ($15) on offer. We swooned over the refreshing Top Cat’s Brew ($25), a creamy, gin-forward mix of Beefeater 24, orange curacao, cardamom, ginger syrup and splash of Hitachino Ale, but the Jiminy Cricket ($25) stole the show. Tart and tangy, its bright, harmonious flavours of lemon, peach and angostura bitters were well-complemented by shots of Tito’s Handmade Vodka – and best of all, of course, is the sparkling champagne finish.
Such assorted nibbles as bourbon-pickled onions and smokey chips with foie gras dip are available on Studio 1939’s food menu, but we couldn’t resist a burger and fries from Three Buns on the first floor, which can be ordered from the bar. Our James Brown aka The ‘Codfather’ of Soul ($25) was a savoury mess of textures, with mushy peas, tangy tartare sauce and lightly crisped cod fish fingers oozing out of a soft rice-flour bun. Equally satisfying were the Naughty Fries ($10), a mound of scoop-shaped chips topped with crispy shallots, parmesan, sesame seeds and an obsession worthy béarnaise (which tasted more like a perfect buffalo-wings sauce than French coulis).
The 30-capacity rooftop tiki bar, brimming with happy plants and flowers, is considerably more casual and serves a pared-down drinks menu centered on tropical-themed cocktails. The Saik Daiquiri ($23), a blend of rums, sweetened yuzu, Japanese mirin and fresh lime, was quaffable but not exceptional, though we could drink the Zombie ($25) all night; unfortunately it’s limited to two per person due to its high-octane combination of seven rums and absinthe poured over a sugar cube.
It’s a shame that Potato Head Folk hasn’t bucked the unfortunate trend of charging upwards of $25 per cocktail because they can. It’s our only gripe, however – there may be no cosier, more comfortable and more interesting drinking den in Singapore than this buzzy Indonesian export. Brian Spencer
|Venue name:||Potato Head Singapore|
36 Keong Saik Rd
|Opening hours:||Tue-Sun 11am-midnight|
|Do you own this business?|