Drinking places within the general vicinity of Peck Seah street are a dime a dozen, so it’s hard to stand out. From Craig Place’s El Tardeo to popular Tippling Club, it’s about having something that gives you just a little more than you expect. That’s why new entrant Cin Cin needed to punch above its weight by going on a highly-focused trip into one of the most challenging and nuanced spirits – Gin.
A Golden Touch
The Oasia Downtown Hotel plays host to Cin Cin’s swanky minimalism. Refinery Concepts, Cin Cin’s parent company, also runs popular places like Fat Cow and Bedrock bar & Grill. So right off the bat, you know that they’re highly seasoned pros. There’s none of that overcrowded, timber-focused decor. In it’s place? clean leather seats and marble top finishes, with just a touch of gold for some much needed class.
You know what’s not minimalistic? The gin collection that Cin Cin’s head bartender, Fadly, has amassed. Over 100 different types of Gin and counting, each with it’s own little quirk and nuance. Ask him about any of the gins, and he’ll have a story to tell you.
I like my drinks a little punchier, so I opened my night with a Cin Cin Martini ($20++). This is a no nonsense sort of drink that managed to make me sit up. While the Bulldog Gin was a little too heavy on the tongue for me, the Togarashi-infused Lilet Blanc gave the drink that added kick. I couldn’t have started the night on a stronger note.
In recent years, drinking spots have elevated bar food beyond your basic chicken wings. Cin Cin’s menu is decent, and at times ambitious. I can tell you that the Truffle Fries ($12++) are going to be a staple there, but that you should really order a serving of Spicy Fried Calamari ($14++) because its sweet and subtle spiciness will make your day.
The Seared Tuna Ahi ($14++) is also very very friendly to tastebuds. It’s all firm tuna flesh with a sprinkling of sesame soy sauce, then finished off with a cooling touch of compressed watermelon.
I did think that the Char-broiled Sliced Short Rib ($20++) was sufficiently tender, but it lacked flavour. While there are ways to circumvent this after cooking, like the horseradish creme that came with the beef, I think a good marinade is in order.
It gets deep, and creative
As I got my education on Gin & Tonic through the night from Fadly, I came to realise that the level of specialisation this spirit required was staggering. Gin makers, like Craft Beer Brewers, have been experimenting with flavours for a while now, and some of them are just off the cuff.
Fadly rewarded my listening ear with a shot of Paper Lantern’s Spicy Sichuan Pepper Gin. This Gin is made from hand-picked Thai rice and distilled with carefully selected Asian botanicals. There are hints of pine and clove, as well as the herbal overtones of plum and lavender.
As the night wore on, he regaled me with tales of how he got his hands on small batch Gin. Coincidence, plucky charm and hard work got him a few good bottles of Hel Sin Gin, a highly popular Gin that’s in limited supply throughout the world.
Of course, after hearing his stories and getting a glimpse of his deep knowledge, I had to ask Fadly to whip up something special for me. That’s when he went off the menu for a special treat.
The Cin Cin Copper Brew ($15++) is simply magic. Imagine a Gin & Tonic that carries a hint of espresso bitterness with it’s fruity flavours, and you’ve got the Copper Brew. The espresso is made from Cin Cin’s sister company, The Oriole (yes, the one at 313 Somerset), and then infused into the tonic, which is then turned into a foam topping! Its wildly creative application of ingredients made it my favourite drink for the night.
A solid addition to the Tanjong Pagar Party
Cin Cin’s strength lies in the depth of its Bar. It’s like a football team that has 10 top-class players for every position, and a play for every situation. Highly focused, with an experienced team on site, Cin Cin is great for small groups of 4-6. Drinks are usually around the $20++ mark, and food generally falls in the $15++ to $20++ range, so it’s great for a night out with your close friends. While the food options are not mind-blowing, they are serviceable. My advice is to come for the drinks, and really let Fadly take your tastebuds on a ride.
Address: 100 Peck Seah Street, 01-02, Singapore 079333
Sunday – Thursday, 5pm – 12mn (Last Order 11.30pm)
Friday, Saturday & Eve of Public Holidays, 5pm – 1am (Last Order 12.30am)