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Formerly 50Fifty, a pocket bar concept launched by chef Janice Wong, Mallow is putting plant-forward plates and exotic cocktails first. Entering its third and reportedly final season, the location has been refreshed with new muses, Instagrammable food and curious drinks. While not all of the cocktails are vegan, Mallow as a dining venue does seek to avoid all meat, fish and dairy.
Originally starting as a pop-up at the start of this year, Mallow, in its former incarnation, enjoyed two sold-out seasons. During each phase, recognised cocktail and culinary creatives are asked to put their stamp on the concept. Diners can choose from a la carte or degustation menus, to be eaten in a bijou 35-seat restaurant. Food and drinks are prepared in plain sight to encourage dialogue.
The final season cast and crew
Wong is reported to have personally invited the chef and cocktail artist for the final season of her pop-up concept. Taking charge of the kitchen is Christina Rasmussen, a Danish-American chef known for her foraging, she has classical training from the Culinary Institute of America. After moving to Copenhagen, she took on the role of head forager for Noma, cited as The World’s Best Restaurant in 2021. Rasmussen has devised a pared-back menu of ‘hyperconscious’ small plates that encourage consumer thought.
“Through my years of foraging, I’ve learned intimate details of every path and bend, every tree branch and sand dune; they have become like a second home to me,” Rasmussen said in a statement. “Seeing the destruction that changing weather patterns, rising sea levels and deforestation have inflicted on this second home made me take a step back and examine our relationship with our planet and how can we do better individually. Mallow traces my foraging, culinary and carbon footprint from Denmark to Singapore, encapsulated in a pocket bar experience created by Sasha and myself that, with the support of Janice, will allow us to inspire more people from a whole other continent, in a fun and engaging way.”
Sasha Wijidessa, formerly of Operation Dagger, aims to bring harmony and curiosity with her cocktail menu. Unusual flavour combinations, surprising ingredients and bold endnotes feature heavily within all of the S$25 drinks. Wijidessa cites having a ‘flavour-first approach’ as leaving her unafraid to experiment. That’s why diners might find a king oyster mushroom, red rice sake or sumac in their cocktails.
A novel experience
Rasmussen has created a menu that will feel unfamiliar to even the most seasoned of vegan fine diners. The best way to get an understanding of the concept as a whole is through the six-course degustation menu, which comes with four cocktails. It is priced at S$135, or around US$100, with limited availability.
Non-alcoholic beverages are offered in place of cocktails, as are biodynamic wines, sake and vermouth and soda.
The concept of vegan degustation is becoming less alien. Vegan fine dining is predicted to become a much more prominent trend, hence respected chefs are increasingly looking to cater for it. In December last year, it was reported that German patisserie chef Holger Deh was turning his back on animal products in favour of a vegan dessert line. Launching his Essentia line at a Hong Kong pop-up, he determined that with practice and judicious ingredient selection, he could replicate high-end patisserie treats for vegans.
Also in December last year, Matthew Kenney launched his new vegan eatery, Adesse in London’s Selfridges. It came shortly after Copenhagen’s Geranium announced it would cease serving meat in 2022. Both are considered to be in the upper echelons of fine dining experiences, propelling meat-free restaurants into consumer consciousness.
Mallow is open every Wednesday to Sunday from 4.00pm to 10.30pm on the second floor of the InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay.
Lead photo by Mallow.