Not many would venture beyond Orchard Towers to the Orchard Hotel stretch, which actually houses gems such as plate-smashing (literally) Esmirada, music bar TAB and the recently opened Amuse by Armin Leitgeb.
Replacing Bodega Y Tapas, “Amuse” comes from the French term ‘amuse bouche’ which literally translates to ‘mouth amuser’. It should not be mistaken to be another Spanish Tapas bar, because it is not. Incidentally, the casual bar has both an international team and appeal.
Food consultant Armin Leitgeb (ex-Les Amis chef de cuisine) is Austrian, Chef Lee Chee Keong is Malaysian (Singapore PR) who used to be a dim sum chef, manager Katharina Riege is German (born in Poland), and bar manager mixologist Klaus Leopold is Austrian. Put them together and you will get charming bar with wide-varying food from Chorizo “Groest’l” ($16), Pickled Kurobuta Pork Cheeks ($16) to Grilled Spanish Octopus ($19).
Of the menu’s selection, the resounding table’s favourite which everyone went “Ahhhh…” is actually the Spicy Lamb Burger ($16) with fennel pollen aioli, eggplant and harissa. Strange, because the lamb burger is not the first thing anybody would order in such a menu. But the soft charred pita with such lamb patties with a touch of spice made a surprise sensation when popped in the mouth, and you wonder how lamb would taste so juicy.
The Ciabatta Wrapped Crispy Egg ($15) looks like an intriguing mini-tower when plated, prosciutto on top, hiding an egg in the middle. The trick is to let it fall and mix it together, and that’s when the oozing yolk will flow and make a delectable mash with the prosciutto, spinach and mushroom.
Seriously, who would order a can of sardines in a bar? I did. Only because it was A Burning Tin of Cuca Sardines ($12). Other than a visual sight when it burns, the sardines actually taste particularly scrumptious and non-fishy, not like the typical cheap canned ones we are used to. If only there is so buttered toast on side to spread the sardine on.
Chef Armin’s personal favourite dish was the Char-Grilled Wagyu Cubes Cooked in Hay ($39), which has a rustic aftertaste, inspired by what he had back home in Austria. I would recommend pairing this dish with the Maica ($18) of Rhum Vieux du Père Labat, fresh banana, milk, and Vedrenne chocolat liquor, and blow-torched raw sugar.
The concoctions here are indeed creative, colourful and elegant-looking, mixed by a young Austrian who will Amuse ladies and provide them with another major reason to visit. Yes, he is by the way quite good-looking. International appeal, yes.
[Updated: Amuse by Armin Leitgeb is closed, and converted to Bodega Y Tapas]
442 Orchard Road, #01-29 Orchard Hotel. Tel: +65 6735 3476
Opening Hours: 5pm-1am (Mon-Fri0, 12pm-1pm (Sat), 12pm-11pm (Sun)