Located in Amoy Street and right next to Jigger & Pony, Sugarhall is one of the most enjoyable, laid back restaurants I have visited in some time, funky without pretentiousness, suffused in an easy going, if not somewhat confused, vibe. While the front is dominated by a dazzlingly stocked bar, the dining area lies beyond, exuding a strange half-reggae half-barn feel. But nevermind — the people here, dressed in suitably farmer-inspired checkered shirts, are clearly comfortable with Sugarhall’s chosen identity.
Rum cocktails and good grills are the reason you would go to Sugarhall. As it’s owned by the same people behind Jigger & Pony, you can rest assured the drinks there are top notch. With award winning mixologist Aki Eguchi, the brilliance behind Jigger & Pony, heading up Sugarhall’s drinks, you’ll be treated to cleverly original cocktails which are sumptuously balanced and using great ingredients.
Head over early in the evening for a sundowners, and sit at the bar for a yammer with the bartender while you wait for your friends. Good bars don’t leave a lone guest to fester over their drinks in silence, and Sugarhall is no different. While here, I managed to eke out a couple of tips from the bartender — who their spirits supplier was (and now mine), and how to DIY your own orange bitters at home even if they won’t divulge their own house secrets.
Between three of us that night, we managed to sample quite a few cocktails over dins. If you like yours fresh and zingy, Oriental Note (Bombay Sapphire East Gin, Dita Lychee, peach, lemon, ylang-ylang, prosecco) and Dark & Stormy (Gosling Black Seal Rum, lime, house-fermented ginger beer) are good choices.
But I am not the sweet and fruity sort, and much prefer heady, potent libations with darker flavours. I loved the Perfect Storm (Cutty Sark Storm Scotch, CocchiAmericano, MancinoRosso, cherry, Angostura Bitters) and Bumbo Old Fashioned (El Dorado 12 YO Rum, demerara sugar, nutmeg tincture, cinnamon) — incidentally one of Eguchi’s personal faves. Sugarhall’s negroni, based on rum rather than gin, is good too, and if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, try the Monkey Julep, with banana-infused Monkey Shoulder Scotch, vanilla syrup, coconut water and pandan bitters. I don’t like the idea of drinking my bananas, but — live a little — this one turned out surprisingly drinkable. All cocktails are $22++.
The food here is all about good grilling and laid back, easy eating. Chef Polo Seah, formerly of SKIRT steakhouse of W Hotel in Sentosa, handles the charcoal-fired grill, serving up hearty mains, of which the grass fed Dry-aged Rib-eye Steak (240g, $48++) with chimichurri and the 300g pork chop ($28++) which has been brined, are well recommended. It’s quite an experience to be served Sugarhall’s whole spring chicken ($32++) though. Stand back and be prepared for the full bird — head, beak, eyes, claws and all. If you get to carving it up, it’s really tasty too. Not recommended for your first date, though.
Get some side dishes too. The chunky pumpkin that came with mozzarella and rum-soaked raisins was divine, and the grilled cauliflower ($12++) was earthy and more-ish with the deep tones of bacon puree, burnt butter, and hazelnuts. A very clever combination indeed.
Heading backwards, the appetizers we liked were madai ceviche ($18++), the hearty, flavoursome pork sausage ($14++) with cabbage and bonito butter and an rather precious dish of foie gras profiteroles ($18++) which came with foie gras ice cream and caramel.
As much as the bar makes their own bitters and infuses their own spirits, the kitchen also makes plenty from scratch. “Everything that can be made in-house is made in this kitchen, from cold cuts, pâte, sausages and more. It’s the only way to maintain the quality and taste of the ingredients,” shares Seah. These include the bacon which he seasons with rosemary and lemon for a week, before bathing it in maple syrup for two days, and the duck prosciutto.
It’s best to take a cab here or travel by MRT, since you’ll be bound to do a fair amount of drinking. If you are driving though, note that its almost impossible to get streetside carpark here during weekday lunch. If it’s dinner, come early and you’re likely to get a spot – and a perfect excuse for a round of drinks first.
102 Amoy Street, Singapore 069922
Tel: (65) 6222 9102/ 9732 5607