The team behind the newly-opened The Exchange knows a thing or two about running F&B venues; their portfolio of Singapore bar concepts around the city’s business district includes the first first Irish pub in Singapore Molly Malone's, and the financially themed Bull and Bear. The venues have garnered quite a loyal following amongst office workers in need of a spot to relax after work. Using the same formula and adding a bit of food, The Exchange hoping for similar success.
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The buzz: The recently opened The Exchange is the company's first full restaurant. The brassiere, operating alongside a bar and lounge, serves Australasian cuisine and offers a predominantly New World wine and beer list. Executive chef Kacey Whaitiri Roberts cut his teeth working at Gordon Ramsay's three-Michelin star restaurant Claridge's in London, and his food is a mix of Australian and Kiwi grub with a good dose of influences from surrounding islands in the Pacific Rim.
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The look: The vibe is relaxed Australian at its best, seen in the open space dominated by full-length glass windows, and the liberal use of timber, oak and marble furnishings. The indoor seating area is neatly divided into a dining and a bar area; the former with a busy open kitchen, and the latter marked by a sprawling marble-topped bar.
A private dining room is available for a more intimate dining experience, but its the elevated wood table that stretches across the dining area -- perfect for big groups -- that offers the best dining experience in the venue. It’s an excellent spot to people-watch, right in the middle of all the action.
The food: The steak tartare (S$18) and duck liver pâté (S$17) are both good familiar starters. The pâté in particular, comes served with a layer of sweet jam that works well with the strong taste of the liver. The prawn and scallop ravioli with lemongrass emulsion (S$20) could be a little more generous with the fillings, but the ravioli is light and flavourful, and the lemongrass sauce gives it a refreshing spin.
The melting braised beef cheek with celeriac purée and mushroom fricasée (S$30) is one of The Exchange's signatures, but for those who prefer their meats a tad less hearty, the 220 grams rump cap steak (S$45) done perfectly with just the right amount of chewy --the portion is great value for money too. More impressive however, is the understated duo of chicken (S$26), which presents two nicely seasoned and wonderfully tender portions of chicken.
Desserts like the Pavlova (a meringue-based dessert, S$12), the parfait of honeycomb, melon and fruit coulis (S$12), chocolate praline tart (S$14) and warm chocolate and cherry cake (S$14) may not garner much fanfare, but they’re nevertheless comforting and generous.
Verdict: Barely a month old and The Exchange is already enjoying brisk business from the surrounding offices (the place was bustling at almost full capacity on a Wednesday evening) -- a good sign of even better things to come. Nothing particularly ground-breaking or exciting at The Exchange, but its simplicity and unpretentiousness seal its charm as the newest hotspot in the business district.
The Exchange Brasserie and Bar, 8 Marina View #01-05 Asia Square Tower 1, +65 6636 1200, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.theexchange.com.sg