Despite Singapore’s sprawling F&B scene and ever-growing cocktail culture, there seems to be only a handful of speakeasies at which you’d consider both eating and drinking at, whether as separate activities or in the same sitting. Yes, there are trendy, darkened cocktail bars that offer mouthwatering bites; and yes, there are cafés, diners and restaurants that serve up tantalising tipples – but the general rule dictates that you’re either one or the other. Tanjong Pagar Road’s latest arrival, Crackerjack, is saying to heck with the rules by combining the two, with an all-day, ‘home away from home’ concept that’s hard to put a finger on, but no less attractive.
Though the morning-to-night drinking and dining venue was conceived by seasoned cocktail artisans responsible for bringing you 28 HongKong Street and Proof & Company Spirits, to simply call Crackerjack a place for cocktails would be a disservice to its comprehensive dining menu, aesthetic and overall ambience. Upon entering, guests are greeted by warm, natural light pouring through its façade to bathe a spacious dining area, while a dimly lit bar embellished with design-pushing decorations sits deeper in the back. Cocktail café seems more apt to describe its appearance and feel, and it lends itself equally to breakfast, brunch, dinner and nightcaps through its versatile configuration.
Catering to any crowd at all times of the day – you’ll see everyone from families with children to neighbouring bartenders stopping in for a feed – Crackerjack rightly avoids painting its day’s worth of offerings with the same brush. With distinct menus for breakfast (8am to 11am), lunch (11.30am to 3pm) and dinner (from 6pm), diners can expect unique items with each time of visit, all unified by a wholesome and hearty approach. While there’s far more than one could cover in a single sitting, short of camping in the entire day (though we believe comfort wouldn’t be an issue here), lunch mains can be leisurely preceded with the House Bone Broth ($12), a light and briny soup prepared over 12 hours from pork and chicken bones that includes egg stracciatella, barley and kale. A prime example of Crackerjack’s pride in preparing its dishes in-house, the chewy-but-crunchy Housemade Sourdough ($5) and wafer-thin Housemade Flatbread ($7) similarly showcase the kitchen’s dedication to doing things from scratch.
Once arriving at mains, the Chermoula Chicken ($20) serves as a heartily filling dish without being too heavy, where tendy, juicy chicken is rubbed in Moroccan spices and complemented by millet cous cous and marinated zucchini for a balanced meal. The vegetarian Lentil Mushroom Scotch Egg ($20) will equally delight carnivores for its contrast in textures between chewy lentils and oozing egg yolk. For a sweet finish, the Grapefruit Campari Trifle ($8) scintillates with bitter, sour and sweet sensations all at once, with crunchy and smooth textures to satisfy those unsure of their cravings. Paired with a coffee (from $4) prepared with the beans of independent roaster, 2Degrees North, or a craft cocktail like Mr. Mojoko’s Psycho Tropics ($18) (whose name pays homage to artist Mojoko’s latest print series, of which one work is on display in Crackerjack), and you’ve got all bases covered to make yourself at home.
Also integral to Crackerjack’s formula is not only to be a home away from home, but also an ‘office away from office’. While most of us are now accustomed to being called on to work on urgent projects while on the move, Crackerjack asserts that you won’t be chased out while working on a school project or freelance job. Fitted with free WiFi and charging stations to set you up for long-haul sessions, the student- and business-friendly establishment provides a comfortable space for you to tackle the workday with the comforts of hot coffee or a stiff drink to see you through. Whether for work or play, it's just the right place for a cracker of a good time.
43 Tanjong Pagar Road. Open 8am-midnight from Monday to Saturday, 10am-10pm on Sunday. For more info, visit crackerjack.sg.
Text Trent Davis