WHERE TO EAT: Employees Only Singapore
Employees Only Singapore is its first foray outside of New York.
EO Hand-chopped Beef Tartar
Lamb Chops Wrapped in Bacon
West Side cocktail
The Provencal cocktail
Fraise Sauvage cocktail
Steve Schneider, Principal Bartender
Steve Schneider, Principal Bartender, creating the Fraise Sauvage cocktail
The team behind Employees Only Singapore
With its first foray outside of New York, the famous speakeasy Employees Only spared no expense in creating a twin version of its prohibition-styled flagship in a renovated shophouse along Singapore’s Amoy Street. Subdued lighting, retro furnishing and indie music thumps throughout. General manager Rachel Tow, who moved across continents to helm the joint, finds the new setting all-too familiar. “Some nights I feel like I’m back in Manhattan,” she says.
The opening team also includes other key members from the US who have decided to call Singapore home — at least for a year. Among them is ex-US Marine and bar manager Steve Schneider. The veteran bartender’s signature free-pouring style is witnessed as he pours me a glass of EO Gimlet — a boozy cocktail that comprises an unrestrained mix of the 57 percent ABV Perry’s Tot Navy Strength Gin shaken with a house-made lime cordial, featuring the local kaffir lime leaf.
While the bar area is artful, centred around a brass-topped serpentine counter, the 34-seater dining area is cosier. The food menu features plenty of meat — no surprise as Croatia-born chef Julia Jaksic is the daughter of a butcher. Jaksic has been with Employees Only since its inception 12 years ago and now shuffles between cities on a monthly basis to match the standard of food. She brings her signature modern US and European dishes, including sizable portions such as the 800g prime ribeye, hand-cut steak tartar (mixed tableside) and bacon-wrapped lamb chops. Salads and homemade pastas with seasonal ingredients, as well as delectable desserts are also present. The super-silky mascarpone cheesecake topped with salted caramel is a must-try.
For those who want something Singapore-influenced or different, order the EO Staff Meal, a nightly special. The kitchen team, made of mostly local chefs, is given carte blanche to rustle up one-off culinary creations for guests with available ingredients — a practice introduced in New York. Another adopted tradition is the serving of complimentary chicken soup to the last remaining revellers still standing at 2am.