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Operation Dagger

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7 Ann Siang Hill B1-01, 069791 Singapore

By Nicholas Coldicott

“We knew we were doing things a little differently,” says Operation Dagger co-owner and head bartender Luke Whearty with some understatement. Certainly it’s unusual to stick a (fake) CCTV camera in your loo. And he’s the only bar owner to have ‘mixologist wanker’ embroidered on his staff’s black uniforms.

Nowhere else has anything like this apothecary-in-a-bomb-shelter aesthetic, or eye-popping lighting rig inspired by a Jeff Wall photograph. Few bartenders design coded pictogram labels for all their bottles. And not many have omakase leave-it-to-us course options on the menu, where you get what you’re given and probably love it.

The courses begin refreshing, go bold, and end sweet, much as a great meal would. If you’re lucky, yours will include the exceptional Fallen Fruit, for which the ’tenders take natural wines that would have gone to waste and warm them in a sous vide bath with vanilla and curry leaf, plus citric and tartaric acid to put the sharpness back. That one is served in a custom-made ceramic pear and sipped through a hollowed vanilla bean.

Whearty, co-owner Aki Nishikura and sous bartender Yijun Juan do things so differently that they tried to launch quietly two years ago. “We knew we weren’t the bar for everyone, so our plan was to fly under the radar and just let the right people find us.” Consider them found.