MC relives the tales of Kenshin’s travels through its range of dynamic Nusantara-inspired cocktails
Japanese bar Kenshin is all about culture, tales and tipple. Enjoy the flavours of SEA.
From the fearless samurai outfit that greets its patrons at the entrance to the display of aged Japanese whiskey lined up behind the bar counter, Kenshin is Shawn’s vision of paying homage to the military nobility and professional boxers of the 20th century. As co-founder Shawn Lee puts it, Kenshin is a treasure trove of stories. Taking over Tate at the Intermark, the Japanese bar is helmed by mixologist and co-founder Osmund Bernard, influenced by the flavours of Southeast Asia. Split into different regions: Malaya, Borneo, Siam, Java and Sumatera, the influences of Kenshin is a cocktail of culture, tales, and tipples.
“Wait, is this inspired by the Singapore Sling?” Hardly, Osmund explains, as the Sandakan Sling was concocted in 1910s, the converse was true. A Singaporean bartender twisted the Borneo drink into the renowned Singaporean drink. If djamu is a herbal remedy, the Sandakan Sling is a drink you wake up to for a boost of caffeine. Using kopi
tenom with East Imperial Burma tonic, Borneo rice wine, and London dry gin, it’s topped off with aromatic bitters—that’s your pump of adrenaline covered in all aspects.
If you want to reap the maximum benefits of an alcoholic drink yet try to maintain a semblance of healthiness, go for the Djamu. According to resident mixologist Osmund, this drink has medicinal properties thanks to a shot of Jamu, a traditional herbal medicine from Java and Sumatera. Indonesian locals take a shot of Jamu every morning, but I’m happy to take my chances with this peated whisky with egg white foam and spiced honey.
Hailing from Siam, or what is commonly known these days as Thailand ‘Land of a Thousand Smiles’, this drink doesn’t promise to hold a smile but it serves to evoke a sense of intrigue. For those who prefer a sour kick in your sweet drinks, this is a winner. London dry gin is accompanied with grapefruit tonic—a squeeze of kalamansi and jasmine links it back to its Thai origins. Right off the bat, Sinangein reminds me of my staple
mamak order teh o’ ais limau.
Putting a twist on the local favourite Jungle Bird, the Jungle Man falls under the Malaya region. What better way to channel Malaysian flavours than to convert food into drink? The star of this cocktail is cempedak rum combined with sweet vermouth along with tropical juices. For a hint of its culinary roots, a dash of spice is added.
KENSHIN, G-03A Ground Floor, The Intermark, 348 Jalan Tun Razak, 50400 Kuala Lumpur