Sunday, September 8, 2013

Long Bar at Raffles Makati

Slinging The Night Away at Long Bar, Raffles Makati

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Taking after Singapore's iconic bar, the Long Bar at Raffles Makati exudes this old world colonial charm that is both nostalgic and welcoming. The bar, located at the lobby level of the hotel, also brings to the table that classic cocktail Raffles Hotel Singapore has been famous for since the early 1900s: Singapore Sling. As the story goes, a Chinese bartender at Raffles Hotel Singapore named Ngiam Tong Boon concocted this long drink about century ago. The signature cocktail that Long Bar offers now is based on memories of bartenders past, as well as some bits of old recipe writings that were saved.


Long bar, located at the lobby level of Raffles Makati
 
Styled after the original Long Bar at Raffles Hotel in Singapore, but with a local vibe
 
Colonial meets modern with their take on electric ceiling fans
A visit at Long Bar during Happy Hour will do first timers at the bar well, as it serves as a teaser of the fine things in store for you, should you wish to linger on past 8pm (or even arrive earlier for a hefty meal, perhaps)? There's much to discover, drink, and devour at this bar beyond that pretty blushing cocktail garnished with a slice of pineapple.
Where Littering Shells is a Must
In true Long Bar style, the Makati counterpart also lets their guests litter their floor with empty peanut shells. Each table gets a supply of a wooden bowl filled with monkey nuts as complimentary appetizer; their shells, once empty, now become complimentary trash to throw on their colorful tiled floor.
Complimentary peanuts to munch on (and shells to throw on the floor afterward)
Consider de-shelling and throwing the shells as an act of naughty appreciation of the establishment -- be pilyo and toss them playfully on the floor, I promise no one would mind. A waitress would even tease shy and hesistant guests that they'll charge them extra if they leave the shells ever so neatly laid on the table. So go ahead and be messy with those nuts!
A Thing for Their Slings
Long Bar first timers' baptism of fire is definitely the Classic Singapore Sling (P380). The cocktail is served in an original Raffles Singapore Sling glass, complete with the hotel's retro logo and design. It's how one would be served the drink if in Raffles Singapore. Before a sip, I read the menu to learn the contents of the flashy pink drink: Bombay Sapphire, Cherry Heering, Cointreau, Fresh Lemon and Pineapple, Angostura bitters, and Benedictine.
Classic Singapore Sling
This cocktail's been around for generations, and thus we have endless versions and claims of the 'perfect' or 'best' or 'original' recipe for the Singapore Sling. While not a mixologist nor a cocktail connoisseur, I adhere to whatever pleases my own palate. And one long sip of this classic drink reveals to my tastebuds a sweet, tropical, and slighlty tangy sling with a very courageous and brave (read: matapang!) punch. Don't assume this is a girly drink, with its harmless combination of cutesy color and fruit topping. It may look ladlylike, but it ain't one Maria Clara. It takes on like a lady danger, complete with the little black dress, stilettos, and red lipstick. Proceed with caution, and let every sip linger.
While the world's a-buzz on Singapore Sling--it is an IBA (International Bartenders Association) Official Cocktail, after all--allow your palate to be more adventurous with Long Bar's local counterpart, the Makati Luxury Sling (P680). The thing that makes this Makati cocktail luxurious--aside from the delicate 24 karat gold flakes on top--is that Long Bar makes their own Angostura foam. Their homemade foam, according to the mixologist, is made with Angostura bitters, fresh juices of lemon and orange, some syrups, and egg yolk.
Makati Luxury Sling
The key difference from the Singapore and luxury sling is the upgrade from standard liquors to premium liquors (hence, requiring a more luxurious price). For instance, instead of using Cherry Heering like in the Singapore Sling, the Makati Luxury Sling infuses cherry blossom. Singapore Sling has Cointreau as its orange-flavored liqueur, while the luxurious Makati counterpart incorporates Grand Marnier. The result? The Makati mix is a lighter, more conservatively colored drink, with a sweeter finish in every sip. Don't fool yourself to dismiss this as a demure cocktail, though--it's just as heady as the Singapore Sling.
Happy Hour: Endless Pours and Flows, Plus a Plateful of Chow
Frazzled after a long day's work? Long Bar is waiting for you with their Happy Hour. This happens daily (yes, even on weekends) from 5pm to 8pm for P680++ per person. Arrive thirsty, and arrive with equally parched companions, so you can enjoy free-flowing premium draft Beer, endless pouring of House Wine, or unlimited rounds of Singapore Sling, served with a Chef's Snack Platter--a sampling of different Bar Chow Menu items.
Choose your Happy Hour partner: Beer, House Wine, or Singapore Sling?
Our Happy Hour beverage of choice was the sling. Consuming over three glasses per person (I lost count after our third), the price of our Happy Hour alone was a steal! Three orders of the Singapore Sling, when ordered off the Happy Hour promotion, would cost over P1,000. So, like I said earlier, come parched for some good drinks--it'll make the Happy Hour even happier. And to go with your unlimited sips of wine, beer, or sling, there's a trio of appetizers served on a wooden board. That afternoon's platter had two vegetable Samosas (P330 a la carte) with mango tamarind chutney, Baked Chicken Wings (P255 a la carte) Singaporean black pepper style, and two slices of Tarte Flambee (P350 a la carte, five flavors to choose from).
Chef's snack platter
 
The sampler platter changes daily
More Sips and Eats
While the Happy Hour introduced us to three savory items from the Bar Chow menu, we lingered more and got to sample more delectable snacks at Long Bar. All items on their Bar Chow menu are available from 5pm to 2am. First to arrive for our hungry bellies were the Chicken Satay (P255) and Calamari Moros y Christianos (P225). Our friend, a self-confessed satay addict, was pleased with our skewers of moist and soft chicken served with peanut sauce. The calamari, cheekily named to describe its black and white beer batter, is a fine accompaniment to your drinks with its crisp coating and tender meaty center.
Chicken Satay
 
Calamari Moros y Christianos
 
When it comes to bar chow, deep fried anything seems to match a glass of bubbly or a pint of beer. I discover they partner great with Singapore Slings as well, as we nibble on Cheese Croquettes (P225) and Pork Rinds (P185). Little balls of fried gruyere, warm and pillowy soft bite upon bite, was given a zing when dipped in the chili and spicy coriander mayo. And those pork rinds? Consider them your new addiction. Their best selling bar chow is perfeclty crisp, both meaty and fatty, with the dusting of chili and tamarind rub contributing a little acidity and heat to cut the fattiness just right. The deep fried pork was the star chow of our day-to-night Long Bar session.
Cheese Croquettes
 
Pork Rinds
Slinging The Night Away
Suffice it to say, our first Happy Hour experience at Long Bar in Raffles Makati was a blast. Live relaxing music and savory munchies in between sips of seemingly endless servings of Singapore Sling were made even better with awesome friends in tow. It did not take our table of three too long to feel at home at Long Bar. By the end of the night, what started as hesitant, polite dropping of peanut shells became a gleeful time of tossing them on the floor. Oh, and yes, we had some Dessert (all items are P300 each) with our cocktails (because why not?) before we finally called it a night. Craving for a Long Bar kind of happiness? Then swing by this hotel bar for some liberating littering, and some of the best and luxurious cocktails in town.
Sipping on our postprandial Slings
 
Late night sweetness: Long Bar's warm apple crumble with vanilla ice cream
 
Establishment Info

Long Bar

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