It feels like it’s been forever since I went to a bar, especially since the restrictions haven’t been very kind these past two years. But when I received an invitation to head down to one of the world’s best bars in Singapore, I just had to grab the chance.
I arrived outside the award-winning MO Bar at Mandarin Oriental, and just looking at the entrance made me feel giddy all over, as if I was a kid entering her first theme park.
After all, it is a highly popular bar that is almost always fully booked. Despite only being in operations for just three years, MO Bar has attained a number of accolades, some of which include being one of the world’s and Asia’s best bars.
MO Bar has recently refreshed their menu for the year, and named it Volume Four. This new menu continues the nomadic journey throughout Asia Pacific as seen in the first three volumes.
To give it a new spin, the Volume Four menu is presented on a 3D globe that takes guests to new destinations with the introduction of each cocktail.
Cocktails inspired by Asia Pacific
The menu features 16 different cocktails with four different alcohol content categories, from non-alcoholic to high in alcohol content.
While this is a bar, MO Bar offers non-alcoholic cocktails to provide an inclusive drinking experience for everyone. Spirits can be added on upon request for these cocktails.
Lakeside (S$14/S$24 with rum) is the first beverage on the menu, and it is inspired by Sri Lanka.
It is a Kombucha-based drink infused with lemongrass and spices, served in an intricate ceramic mug with a ginger cracker.
The ginger cracker offers a surprising kick, but if you eat it with Lakeside, it complements the beverage very well and gives it a nice balance.
Lakeside is very refreshing, and not as sour as the usual Kombucha that you may be used to.
Next, we have Formosan (S$16/S$26 with whiskey) inspired by Taiwan and features coffee mixed with coconut cream.
It is served hot and cold on a coaster made from recycled grounded coffee beans.
Ube (S$16/S$26 with whiskey) from the Philippines was one of the crowd favourites among all the beverages because of the sweet combination of purple yam, jackfruit, and ice cream.
It tasted like I was sipping taro bubble tea, and I’m pretty sure bubble tea fans will love this.
It also comes served with a small pastry treat that elevates the experience tenfold.
I can easily see Ube becoming a favourite amongst dessert lovers as well because of how creamy and delightful it was.
Next, we moved on to the cocktails with lower alcohol content.
First, there’s Holi (S$24) which is inspired by India’s Festival of Colours.
You’ll see that the top of the drink is decorated with vibrant hues, and in the cocktail, there’s gin, buttermilk, and spices.
They even add little petals of flowers to the cocktail as garnish. This was really soothing on the throat, and was easy to drink.
For those looking to take videos for the ‘gram to showcase an interesting-looking cocktail, you’ll probably want to go for the Afterglow (S$27).
Inspired by the famous sunset spots in Indonesia, Afterglow has cotton candy in the glass topped with gin and ginger.
This results in a beautiful pink glow that looks just as good as it tastes. This is easily another dessert drink that those with a sweet tooth would enjoy.
This next drink could very well be crowned the next Singapore drink. As Singaporeans, we often eat satay with peanut gravy when we have a gathering, along with other dishes.
This drink called Satay by the Bay (S$25) accurately portrays the aroma of the grilled meat, and the essence of the peanut gravy.
This comes with a skewer on the side that has slices of cucumbers and pineapples to pair with your cocktail. It’s amazing how the team was able to create a drink that tastes just like satay!
You may not be able to travel to South Korea anytime, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a drink inspired by the country.
Full Moon (S$26) is another aesthetically pleasing cocktail that you’ll definitely want to snap photos of.
It is made with rum, Asian pear, and wheatgrass, and topped with rice paper in rainbow colours and a bunny figure in the middle.
This is refreshing and a little sour, similar to what you would taste in a lemonade.
As you catch up and reminisce with your loved ones about past memories, do order a glass of Nostalgia (S$27) to help jog your memory and get you into the mood.
This is a mix of cognac, banana, and caramel, and is inspired by local Vietnamese produce.
Bites to go along with the cocktails
I always get hunger pangs much more easily when I’m drinking, so what I look for in a good drinking place is good food other than delicious cocktails and great ambience.
Thankfully, MO Bar is able to successfully tick all three criteria in my book. Other than refreshing the cocktail menu, the team at MO Bar has also refreshed some of the items on the food menu.
The first new item is heaven for truffle lovers and cheese aficionados. The Truffle Cheese Naan (S$18) has mozzarella and fragrant truffle paste layered on a soft and chewy Indian flatbread.
Heed our advice and whip out your cameras because the cheese pull game is strong with this dish!
Another new addition is the Tuna Tataki Somen (S$22) cooked with seaweed, radish, soya dressing, and garlic chips.
The tuna is lightly seared, and it just melts in your mouth as you dig into it.
For sharing, the Royal Indian Tandoori Selection (S$42) is a good choice. It comes with chicken, lamb, prawns, fish, and garlic naan.
The chicken and lamb are both tender and succulent, while the prawns are huge and fresh.
The fish is actually salmon, and you can easily eat it with just a fork because it’s so flakey – in a good way, of course.
MO Bar also has vegetarian options like Charcoal Puff (S$16) that has potato, edamame, cheese, and mint chutney wrapped in a charcoal puff pastry, Rice Rolls (S$16) that feature vegetables enveloped in Vietnamese rice paper and served with a dollop of sweet chilli sauce, and Tater Tots (S$16) with curry mayo.
Favourites from Volume Three such as the locally-inspired Singdog (S$24) that consists of charred chicken sausage, achar, sambal mayo, scallions, and dry shrimp, Laksa (S$28) with lobster, rice vermicelli, and coconut broth, as well as Gyu-Katsu Sando (S$34) with breaded beef tenderloin and bulldog sauce still remain on the menu.
The overall experience of MO Bar’s latest menu
Cocktails and food
After having a taste of a couple of cocktails from its latest menu, it’s not difficult to see why MO Bar is crowned one of the best bars in Asia, and in the world.
Their cocktails have such a rich history to them, that it makes the experience that much more beautiful. You can really taste the individual ingredients and understand why these flavours were picked to represent the various countries.
I personally liked the Ube the best because it was very dessert-like, which is something right up my alley. Lakeside comes in at a close second though!
The dishes were all so flavourful and it’s great that MO Bar not only succeeds in making great drinks, but food as well.
Unlike other bars that just serve typical bar food like french fries and popcorn chicken, MO Bar takes it a notch higher with its specially curated menu inspired by Asian cuisine and western fare.
Ambience and service
From the start till the end, the team at MO Bar really delivered. You can tell that they are all very passionate about what they are doing, and are more than happy to explain more about the origins of the cocktails to you.
The interior of the bar offers a very chill atmosphere, and with the comfy chairs, I can totally see myself lounging here on an evening after work with a couple of friends. Music was also playing at an appropriate volume level – it wasn’t too soft that you could barely hear anything, but it wasn’t too loud either that you would have to shout in order to interact with others.
Overall, the new menu is great and it’s definitely worth checking out. Since they are very popular, it’s best that you make a reservation before heading down to avoid disappointment.
MO Bar is located at 5 Raffles Avenue, Level 4, Mandarin Oriental, Singapore 039797. Its opening hours are 3pm to 10.30pm (Mon – Fri) and 12pm to 10.30pm (Sat & Sun). Click here to make a reservation.