French owner Pierre-Emmanuel Plassart, who used to be a director in Los Angeles, wore a Napoleon costume for a masquerade party when he was a little boy, and for the next 6 months, he refused to get out of it, earning him the nickname Little Napoleon, or en français, L’Aiglon.
The tenacity of the Little Emperor continues into his adulthood; he’s a perfectionist. Everything, syrups, sauces, dips, is made from scratch; all furniture hand-crafted in France. Don’t scratch the bar counter, which is made from wood in a French castle–seriously awesome! I imagine the wood has seen many Red Weddings.
Passion (foreground) & Wolf’s Peach Illusion (Background)
Louis Tan, head bartender, formerly from Horse’s Mouth Bar, won the qualifying round for the Diageo Reserve World Class 2013. Besides the classic cocktails, he serves 8 signature cocktails and recommends Wolf’s Peach Illusion ($24). Seems like there are many ingredients in this cocktail but it remains complex, and not confusing: the sweetness of lychee liqueur is balanced with the tartness of pineapple, and this sweet tartness mellows to a cherry tomato aroma with a hint of basil. Gin, as a base, is always palpable but complementary. Quite a win.
(Photo credit: L’Aiglon facebook)
Creeping Vines (gin, vineflower liqueur, fresh lemon juice, homemade wine syrup, basil leaf, $22) isn’t as complex as Wolf’s Peach Illusion but it is more refreshing, a great perk-me-up after work. I also strongly recommend Asian Sensation ($90 serves 5), which comes in a Chinese teapot with fuming dry ice, and Chinese teacups. Huccalily says, it is alcoholic chrysanthemum tea, with a nice finish of cinnamon. Warning: the cocktails are deceivingly easy to drink because they are balanced and delicious, but they are strong.
Besides cocktails, there is a great selection of spirits, wines and champagnes. (Of course, the owner is French.) For champagne, try J.M. Labruyere ($24 glass/ $110 bottle), which produces only 60,000 bottles a year.
The bar snacks–all cooked and made in-house, even the dips–are as fantastic as the cocktails. The menu is inspired by Pierre’s travels around the world: you’ll see Asian, and North and South American influences. My favorite is crab cakes with curry salsa ($14), crust so crispy you can hear the crunch in your head, and shredded crab, not finely minced, that gives a great texture.
Huccalily’s favorite is Obsiblue tartare with ginger flower and lime caviar ($18, above), served in kueh pie tee cups. It’s similar to South American ceviche, fresh raw shrimps that are refreshingly flavored, not at all slimy. My other recommendation is Gent’s chicken samosa ($12, below), that is rolled like a love letter. All food come hot, which is how mama says you should eat your food.
Too early to make a call, but Huccalily and I think L’Aiglon may be the Bar of the Year. From cocktails to food, everything is perfect.
69 Neil Road Singapore 088899
T: 6220 0369
Rating: 3.500/5 stars
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.
ps: Thanks Vera and Pierre for the hospitality.