Monday, November 25, 2013

The Kumartini at WA Dining Lounge at UE Square

He is called the head mixologist here, and that may be somewhat verbose for what is essentially a bartending position. But make no mistake about it, Kumar is one of the best bartenders in town.

And that is not just reflected in his martinis that he conjures up, but also the rapport and support he garners from his loyal followers.

And follow him they do, all the way from his time at the Hyatt at Scotts Road more than a decade ago, through his various stints around the region, and finally now at the new swanky WA Dining Lounge.

Speaking of WA Dining Lounge, it is an interesting fusion of combining conventional hipster bar with fine dining modern cuisine.

WA Dining Lounge

As a concept, it sounds like something that should have been tried and perfected eons ago in the watering hole that is Clarke Quay, but WA has finally made a go at it that seems to hit the right notes for the most part.

Under the guise of a posh looking surrounding, the dining lounge has a fairly spacious seating arena that has a separate VIP room with its own liquor cellar that houses some of the best spirits around. It is without doubt, a place to impress both friends and clients.

The novelty of the food is that most of the items are served in martini glasses, which can be both inventive and also a bit difficult to savor at the same time. Nevertheless, it is still (pardon the pun) quite refreshing.

Argentinian Tenderloin in Martini Glass

Head chef Tai is undoubtedly a very adventurous cook, and has an obvious penchant for good and fresh ingredients. And the fact that his cuisine has the luxury of pairing with some very tasty beverages will make a most interesting dining experience here.

Classic Duck Confit

Not all of his food are reinvented though, as you can also find some classic duck confit and lobster bisque being served here. While I personally feel that some of his menu needs a slight tweaking and finessing, Chef Tai is off to a good start.

I was also pleasantly surprised to find that the prices for the food here are also very reasonable, and there are also very affordable food and drink bundles that might appeal to a larger posse of party-goers.

The Kumartini

But the one thing that stood out for me was the man himself, whom I have now dubbed the Kumartini. He mixes his drink with the panache of an entertainer, and wins everyone over with just a smile.

Talking to him, I could sense that he is extremely passionate about his job. To him, it is more than just work. He simply loves what he is doing, night after night. That smile that I saw was one that came from a happy soul.

A Soulful Martini

And soul was the word we used to describe his drinks. A regular of his once went into his bar and asked for her regular drink, not knowing Kumar was off that day. When it came, after a sip, she immediately remarked that this drink was not made by Kumar.

That is the effect he has on his regulars. They know him so well that they can tell when his heart and soul is not present in a glass. And this soul and passion clearly showed in one of his fantabulous martinis that I gushed down in no time.

Like all good bartenders, Kumar was also just a delight to chat with. Relishing his time with his customers, he was sharing his ideas for new cocktails and drinks dealing with tea leaves. You could clearly see the immense enthusiasm he has for this.

If you decide to look for a joint that serves fine dining food and a mix of great cocktails, you should venture into WA Dining Lounge. It looks cool, serves adventurous yet affordable cuisine, and has the Kumartini.

WA Dining Lounge
207 River Valley Road
#01-61 UE Square River Wing

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