Kinki Restaurant and Bar (Bar Review), Customs House

Kinki’s Mascot says, “Chubs are hot.”

There are two parts to the review, the first on the bar and the latter, the food in the restaurant. But the bar and restaurant have a unifying concept, that is, to inject an edgy, raw energy and vibrancy to traditional Japanese food. 14K and I was skeptical of the concept at first, but after visiting the bar and restaurant, it has become one of our favorite restaurants. 14K can’t stop gushing about it, like a 14-year-old girl over Justin Bieber. GAY, bro, gay.

But first, to get to Kinki, take the lift! Many people can’t find it! The restaurant is on the 2nd floor and the bar on the Roof.


TVB’s drama’s new location

The rooftop bar reminds me of those Hong Kong TVB drama. (Don’t pretend lah, everyone has watched one of those.) TVB rooftop with weatherbeaten walls and concrete floor, then the policemen will rush to to confront the thieves, or someone will threaten suicide, and these rooftops are always set against high-rise buildings – a relic contrasting with the ever changing modernizing landscape. I especially like the strings of naked lightbulbs, so ghetto and gangsta! Me ah beng like it! I thought the furnishing could be grittier – but I suppose it doesn’t make sense to buy expensive tables and chairs for the weather to be ruined.

And from the bar, you can see the breathtaking unobstructed panorama of Marina Bay Sands:

The interesting drinks are Japanese-inspired. Everything sounds so exciting it’s enough to turn me into an alcohol; 14K is already an alcoholic. A few appealing drinks are: Shokult (400ml, $35) a mix of yakult and shochu; Japanese Pear Martini ($20); Hokkaido Plummet ($16), with a special Kinki syrup and pickled plums; Ginger Kumquat Caipirinha ($16), etc.

Spicy Hachimitshu ($16) & Geisha Sake-rite ($16)

We ordered Spicy Hachimitsu ($16), Lychee Shochu Martini ($20), Geisha Sakerita ($16), of which the latter two belong to 14K. 14K is a hardcore alcoholic, he likes his single malt whiskey straight from the bottle down his throat, half a bottle each time. So his responses to the 2 cocktails were lukewarm. (They do serve whiskey and single malt too if you don’t want cocktails.)

But I LOVE all three of them. Both the Lychee Shochu Martini and Geisha Sake-rita are sweet and while I thought that the Lychee is run-of-the-mill, the Geisha Sake-rita is such a crowdpleaser! Just listen to the name. 14K and I decided we must bring Hookerlily here when she’s on leave from her Geylang night job. The Geisha Sake-rita is a delicate mix–as delicate as a blushing geisha in her early training virgin years–of tequila, passion fruit umeshu, orange liquer and fresh passion fruit syrup. You can get high and get your vitamins at the same time!

But my favorite still has to be Spicy Hachimitshu, which is a balance of vodka, honey umeshu, wasabi gomme, fresh lemon, japanese cucumber. Do you remember the Halls breath mint ad where the guy eats the mint and everything freezes? It was the exact feeling I had. The taste is  as layered as kueh lapis: at first sip, it is the refreshing and cool of the cucumber and then the aftertaste, a lingering wasabi fragrance that clears the nose but doesn’t choke you. It’s like a high, and when you think it couldn’t get higher, you get higher with the wasabi. This drink is daring and adventurous and at the same time, soothing after a hard day’s work or on a hot day.

A new beer, not on the menu yet!: Hitachino, a Japanese beer.

The clientele are afterwork-ed exec from nearby offices. On Fridays, a DJ spins but on Fridays, you’ll need to get yourself on the guest list. It’s by invite only. Try coming regularly on weekdays to get an invite.

Kinki Bar and Restaurant
70 Collyer Quay #02-02 Customs House Singapore 049323
T: 6533 3471
Opening hours for the bar:
M-Th & Sat: 5pm-midnight
Fri: 5pm-3am

Rating: See Restaurant for overall rating.

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