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Sunday, 29 November 2015

Chilling out at Smoke & Mirrors Lounge @ National Gallery

1 St. Andrew’s Road #06-01 National Gallery, Singapore 178957
Tel:  6384 5595
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one” - Albert Einstein

Smoke and Mirrors is a new bar concept under the Park Hotel Group. It has opened its doors at the newly refurbished National Gallery (the ex-Supreme Court building), and everything about it seemed to be laced with a chic sophistication and enigma.  I fell in love with the name bearing a concept I use a lot in my writings and muse, the alluring images on the website, as well as the photos I’ve seen in social media feeds, so I told myself I had to visit this place. 

The first two trysts proved unsuccessful because they were booked for the 2 Fridays I had intended to visit. Finally, on a Wednesday evening, I managed to visit this enchanting rooftop bar with a new friend, *Camelia.

The settings were dimly-lit, crusted with lots of mirror reflections to give it an intimate and mysterious feel, darkly seductive and posh all at the same time. The stunning sculptural bar counter was the centre of attention, lit tastefully like a beacon in the dark night. Sitting alfresco means being accorded panoramic views of the colorful cityscape while sitting indoors bring about a heightening of the senses amongst the dark earth tones and glossy reflections. It was as sexy as it could get.

We sat indoors because it was beginning to drizzle. The leather seats were comfortable and service was excellent – polite, professional and quite attentive. There were bar bites as well as mains on the menu, as well as a wide array of drinks (cocktails, wine, etc).

A good many items were unavailable due to being “out of stock” because they were a new bar, because they have been operating since 11.00am so food ran out, and because not much storage space. They included the basic calamari, crab claws, churros and chocolate fondant cake, which the service crew had to keep retuning to apologise and inform us of the unavailability of our orders.

The starter snacks were good - assorted mix of sweet and salted almonds that were refillable.  It was a refreshing bar bites and rather addictive.

In the end, we stuck with Signature Chicken Wings (SGD$14.00), consisting of 6 crispy fried chicken wings marinated with a light tinge of spiciness. The skin was crackling and thin, and the overall texture was light, moistened and tasty.  

We also went for the Popcorn Chicken with Dried Chilli (SGD$14.00), which was the most unique I have ever seen, having eaten the same item at many other spots prior to this. The Popcorn Chicken here was crispy on the outside and tender within, the chicken also well-moistened so it was not dry or rough. Best of all, there were dried chilli and leek pooled within the serving plate and which the popcorn chicken pieces were infused with, to add a tangy touch to the dish. It was indeed tasty, especially with drinks.

For drinks, *Camelia had a glass of Trimbach Pinot Noir Reserve (SGD$18.00), which she commented was smooth and lovely.

I went for the artistic touch, and one of their special cocktails – Painting Class (SGD$22.00) comprising Peruvian Pisco, fresh lemon, Smoke & Mirrors strawberry cordial, prosecco and edible chocolate paint. Their cocktails in this series are inspired art on exhibit at the National Gallery - mine was inspired by Lim Yew Kuan. It had a lovely plum and kumquat combination kind of flavor, was refreshing and sweet; I loved the edible chocolate smeared on the outside of the glass as well, and I scraped it all up too.

The overall experience was pretty awesome – we could still overlook the beautiful night scene outside, even though we were seated within. The music was jazzy and lounge music type, so it was relaxing and unobstrusive for our conversation. The food, drinks and service were all top-notch; our only grumble was that many items we’d wanted were sold out, so hope that this could be looked into.

To end this review, I would like to add on that service was excellent, especially by one of their crew *Byron or something, who heard our rants patiently, and as a gesture of apology / or to placate us, he offered us a couple of shots (gin with lime, I believe). It was a nice gesture, and gave us hope that things would definitely look up here – that perhaps when we visit again, the experience would be perfect. Anyway, I loved this place, and shall name it my next hangout of choice.

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