I hate websites with sound. Actually, scratch that, I don’t just hate them; I loathe them, despise them, they make my blood run cold, coerce me to throw my weighty iMac through the office window… then follow it out and stamp all over its shiny aluminium casing – perhaps finding a shard of glass to give it a quick Chelsea smile before walking away with my head held high. WHO, I repeat WHO, do they think they are to disregard whatever music I may currently be listening to and force their mellow house Ibizan soundtracks upon me?
Singapore’s Tippling Club have music on their website but, oddly, I’m not in the least bit angry, in fact, I’m happy, very happy, and its one song has been playing on loop for the last 40 minutes. You see, it’s playing a track called Singapore: the opener from Tom Waits’ 1985 album Rain Dogs – and really, it’s impossible to feel anything other than boozy shanty town insanity. Which is a good place to start telling you about their Dempsey Hill bar/restaurant; a ramshackle kind of place, where the bar’s top shelf hangs precariously from countless hooks, and a collection of medicinal jars carry erratically described contents, such as curry powder, blue cheese powder, and, erm, crack cocaine.
British chef Ryan Clift is Tippling Club’s driving force – starting work in a Michelin-starred kitchen at just 14, Clift has come from Melbourne’s Vue De Monde, via kitchens helmed by the likes of Marco-Pierre White and Emmanuel Renaut. Food and cocktail pairings is the name of the game, with molecular tinkering and innovative taste combinations high on the priorities of both the kitchen and bar staff; deconstructed classics are gratefully washed down by delightful treats like an 18-month-aged Cuban Manhattan.
Out on the terrace, on a typically muggy Singapore evening, the booze-soaked seafaring derangement of Tom Waits kicks in again – the lush greenery and low light, or perhaps it’s the cocktails… it’s definitely the cocktails.