52A Amoy Street, Singapore 069878
The premise is simple: if you’re in Singapore, surrounded by great ingredients, why buy gin from England or olives from Italy? Native keeps things strictly regional, working with Asian distillers and a harvest as familiar to founder Vijay Mudaliar as it would be alien to bartenders elsewhere – soursop, pandan, laksa leaves, candlenut and fermented grasshoppers.
Cocktails are developed in a second-floor lab, and Mudaliar says they all have to represent a time, location, story or tradition. The team uses housemade vinegars, yoghurt whey or ants for acidity, but shuns lemons and limes because they don’t want a pile of shells at closing time. Sustainability influences everything at the solar-powered Native. Napkins are linen, coasters are reusable lotus leaves and straws are lotus stems from a florist who only needs the bulbs.
Native is brimming with ideas, both behind the scenes and on the menu. Some will be emulated by bars worldwide, others wouldn’t make sense anywhere but at this old shophouse on Amoy Street. Rising 34 places this year, Native wins the Highest Climber Award, sponsored by Nikka Whisky.