Great world bars we love: The Elephant Room

The Elephant Room’s founder Yugnes Susela leads a team that regularly swaps roles to keep things fresh.

In a city with no shortage of conspicuous cocktail bars, it’s refreshing to see a small, independent establishment gain serious attention. Such is the case with Singapore’s Elephant Room, which made an impressive debut on this year’s Asia’s 50 Best Bars’ extended list, coming in at number 64. A self-described “culture-forward” bar, The Elephant Room is a staunch ambassador for everything India and has been showcasing the diverse flavours, colours and stories of the world’s second-most populous country, by way of Singapore’s Little India.

Cocktails like the Goldsmith gather their flavours and inspiration from all over the Indian subcontinent.

Cocktails at The Elephant Room find inspiration from different Indian states. Intricate details abound, and you may find yourself presented with a drink that’s garnished with Indian cheese, topped with fragrant coconut air or housed in an ornate vessel. Ingredients are freshly sourced from nearby Tekka Centre, a popular wet market that supplies much of the produce that goes into the bar’s various infusions and fermentations. (Think: green mangoes, Kerala tamarind, ghee and curry leaf.

Aside from wow factor cocktails, what’s most striking about the bar is how cohesive and agile the small team is. Led by bar veteran and founder Yugnes Susela, staff switch roles every shift, meaning they serve one day, bartend the next and assume chef duties the day after that. The idea behind this egalitarian concept is to empower staff to be expert in every aspect of service.

Fans of the Elephant Room have a new reason to stop in for a visit—it recently moved to a larger space and reopened with a fresh list of Indian-inspired tipples.

—by Doris Sun

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