What goes best with booze on a late night out? As Moonstone Bar would have you know, most people would pick the comforting flavours of Asian food over chips and fries, hands down.
If the name ‘Moonstone’ rings a bell, you may be familiar with its version 1.0 – the 21Moonstone at its namesake 21 Moonstone Lane. The original establishment was developed by four friends who wanted to build a space for work and play, with co-working by day and a ‘Modern Kopitiam’ dive bar by night.
With its relaunch at Amoy Street, the ‘Modern Kopitiam’ has now developed into a ‘Modern Community Centre’, a space where people from all walks of life gather over tasty grub, exciting events, and hearty conversations – just like your neighbourhood CC.
What caught our eye first was the old-school 1960s-era signboard that hangs above the door: it is engraved with the Chinese characters of 凉茶 (liang teh, or herbal tea).
We were naturally very puzzled – does this bar actually sell Chinese herbal tea?
Liang Teh at Moonstone Bar?
As it turns out, Liang Teh was a fun jab at their old neighbours at 21 Moonstone Lane who frequently complained about the noise produced, so they would claim that they were just selling harmless herbal tea.
This long-running joke even sparked the inspiration for the signature Liang Teh Cocktail (SGD18), a satirical Chinese Herbal Tea.
The cocktail is mixed with a base of Gula Melaka, Fernet-Branca (Italian herbal liqueur), and seasonal ingredients ranging from gin infusions of Chrysanthemum to Luohan Guo (Monks fruit).
Did it taste like the real deal? Absolutely.
While the taste of some liang tehs will make you grimace, this one is a sweet take on the refreshing herbal tea that you can get addicted to, thanks to the Gula Melaka base.
It tastes a few extra sips of the Liang Teh to find the subtle taste of gin, but it still tastes dangerously more like herbal tea than liqueur – we say dangerous only because you might find yourself finishing everything at one shot.
If you can’t get past the healthy taste of Liang Teh, there are other ambrosial cocktails on the menu that you can choose from, including the photogenic Viva La Vida (SGD20), which is a thirst-quenching concoction made with tequila, watermelon, cucumber and lime.
You can also get perfectly poured Guinness Draught on tap here – this is the only bar along Amoy Street that serves it!
Mason Kitchen at Moonstone Bar food review: How does the food fare?
Drinking on an empty stomach is a no-no, and the good news is that you definitely won’t go hungry with the Asian comfort food that Mason Kitchen at Moonstone Bar serves up.
With a menu based on elevated nostalgia, Mason Kitchen is helmed by Anthony Utama and Keith Koh, two chefs seeking to break out of their primary ventures — Tamade Cafeteria (Seminyak, Bali) and Lad and Dad (Tanjong Pagar Plaza) respectively.
The name ‘Mason’ combines the colloquial word ‘Ma’ for mother and ‘Son’, and the two chefs who identify as ‘Mama’s boys’ conceptualised a menu reminiscent of their best childhood memories and street food from their travels.
The signature items on the menu are Bakmi Ayam Mason (SGD12) and Nasi Ayam Mason (SGD8), a clear nod to chef Anthony’s Indonesian roots.
Bakmi Ayam Mason is essentially Indonesia’s answer to Singapore’s Bak Chor Mee: made with braised minced chicken, shiitake mushrooms, fried beancurd crisps, onsen egg, and ramen noodles, this is a dish that beautifully integrates different flavours and textures.
It is best paired with spicy sambal, which is made from a recipe passed down from Chef Anthoy’s mother, for a really spick kick to take things up a notch.
The Nasi Ayam Mason, on the other hand, is essentially the rice version of the signature noodles. It looks deceptively simple, but we’ll have you know that it gets so addictive that you can’t help but take scoop after scoop of the savoury rice.
At Moonstone Bar, K.F.C is not what you think it is – the acronym in K.F.C. Sliders (SGD14) stands for ‘Kena Fried Chicken Sliders’ inspired by none other than, well, the finger-lickin’ good chicken that make for a good supper snack.
The chicken is fried to crisp perfection, and then sandwiched between brioche buns with cheese sauce, coleslaw, and daikon. We love how they cleverly paired mellow vegetables like daikon to balance the flavourful cheese and fried chicken so that it doesn’t feel too greasy or overwhelming.
Those who party till the wee hours of the morning will appreciate having their breakfast settled while they’re still finishing their last drop of booze.
The Bon Joe (SGD14) reminded us of an Egg McMuffin that has been upgraded to include everything we want for breakfast: sausage patty, hot sauce, cheese sauce, sunny-side up, and hashbrown crinkle cut chips.
For us, the hashbrown crinkle cut chips really stole the limelight – crispy, crunchy, lightly-salted, and not greasy at all.
Of course, a Modern Community Centre needs more than just good food and good booze.
We heard that plans are in the pipeline for exciting programmes and events, including themed parties, flea markets, tarot card reading, so keep your eyes peeled!