What: Empress Bar
Where: #01-03 Asian Civilisations Museum, 1 Empress Place, 179555
Opening hours: Sundays to Thursdays, 4pm to 12am: Fridays and Saturdays, 4pm to 1am
The idea of The Prive Group’s Yuan Oeij, Empress at the Asian Civilisations Museum is plugged as a modern Chinese diner and bar. The decor certainly lives up to that, featuring a palette of dark finishes contrasting natural materials by Takenouchi Webb, the interior design firm behind the simple modishness of Whitegrass and The Working Capitol. Affording both indoor and alfresco dining spaces, the bar packs a sharp-looking executive crowd from across the river with communal and individual plates at lunch and dinner.
The concept draws heavily on the heritage of the vicinity and the museum in which it is housed, and this translates into a drinks list comprising signature offerings spun with reinvigorating East Asian flourishes. Beijing Bellini sees dry Italian Prosecco mixed with lychee wine and garnished with a lychee nut, while the relatively more complex Lotus Blossom offers a well-rounded mix of vodka and sake lifted with bright vibrant flavours of lime, pear, and lychee.
Executive chef Ricky Leung presides over the bar bites, turning out platters such as deep-fried tofu and salted egg yolk, wagyu sliders, and popcorn shrimps. A concise list of sake, beers, whiskies, and spirits rounds out the menu, but not without a selection of cigars that includes Cohiba, Montecristo, and Romeo y Julieta.
(Related: Read our review of the food at Empress here)
Should you be hosting business associates for a meal, a private room adjacent to the main dining hall accommodates up to 14 diners.
While Empress offers plenty to warrant a visit, its greatest appeal is that it does not take itself too seriously. Yes, the outfit occasionally plays it a little safe for intrigue, but that means you can safely take clients and partners here knowing you won’t be disappointed.
In three words: Safe but fun
Looking for a drinking spot? Check out our other Bar of the Week.