MC re­lives the tales of Ken­shin’s trav­els through its range of dy­namic Nu­san­tara-in­spired cock­tails

Marie Claire (Malaysia) - - Contents -

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

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