A beautiful bar with ramshackle-chic interiors on Tanjong Pagar pairs whiskies with sumiyaki.
The buzz: Adding on to the burgeoning list of watering holes in Tanjong Pagar is The Wall, where you can have pairings of whisky and delicious sumiyaki dishes. Their whole concept is to make whisky appreciation more accessible and friendly, and they’re strong proponents of independent bottlers. Needless to say, they're happy to share the knowledge if you have questions.
The vibe: Housed in a gorgeous two-storey conservation shop house, The Wall features exposed brick walls, part of the original 1900s construction, complimented by warm, dim lighting, heavy-timbered ceilings and walls lined with rare and collectible bottles of Karuizawa, Yamazaki, Hibiki and every bottling of Glenfarcas since 1952.. Amid these ramshackle-chic walls, the furniture is another story: burgundy, leather, tufted sofas and a VIP lounge where the serious whisky drinkers can drink and nosh within crimson, velvet drapes, a gramophone and a beautiful chandelier.
The food: To make the most of your experience, start off with the whisky flight and food menu ($49), where you can choose from three different flights, each painstakingly tried-and-tested by chef Wei Le, formerly of Ki-Sho. We like the “East Meet West” flight, a quartet of Auchentoshan Three Wood, Les Moissons, Kavalan Single Malt and Yamazaki Distiller Reserve drams. They even provide a dropper and distilled water for the whisky to open up different flavors. The pairing comes with four sumiyaki dishes, available on their a la carte menu too, all of which have been seasoned with Laphroaig-infused salt at a controlled temperature of 70 degrees Celsius so that they don’t lose their original flavor. There are “no hard rules” on when to sip and when to bite, reassures bar manager Jeremie Tan, previously head bartender at Jekyll & Hyde. Other sumiyaki options are tebasaki ($5 a la carte), super juicy chicken wings cut into four bite-sized pieces and seasoned with garlic powder, and the tsukune balls ($6 a la carte) made using fresh minced chicken, cartilage, corn flour, Japanese leek and yuzu peel. Try appetizers like the grilled dehydrated skate fin served with spicy mayonnaise sauce ($15 a la carte) and their nachos that come with a housemade beef and shiro miso dip ($8 a la carte). Alternatively, you can go for the six-course sumiyaki omakase ($96, or $168 with whisky pairing), which you’ll have to book two working days in advance, or an assortment of donburi on the new lunch menu (Mon-Thurs, 12pm-3pm).
The drinks: Apart from the different whisky flights you can try, the shelves right behind the main bar hold more than 120 bottles of whisky all of which can be ordered by the glass (they serve gentlemen's pour here) starting at $14 and hitting a whopping to $600 for a dram of the rarer Laphroaig. The options are separated by geographical provenance for easy browsing with the usual players like Balvenie, Glenlivet and Macallan making an appearance alongside rare ones likes the Yamazaki 50 Years. There are tasting notes for everything, and the staff is happy to answer quetsions. There are other spirits, too, of course, and a few classic cocktails like the Manhattan ($22), Old Fashioned ($25) and Negroni ($22). Co-owner and general manager Kenneth Au is quite the eclectic collector: apart from whiskys, they’ve spent a whopping $120,000 to build and maintain a wine cellar that houses some of Au’s favorite labels from his previous job as a sommelier.
Why you'll be back: You are curious about the flavores and culture around whisky, but haven't had the proper indoctrination yet. Or you're a self-fashioned expert, but don't like the stuffier options in town.