When Sum Yi Tai first opened, it was super crowded from the outside and it was impossible to get an online reservation through chope. I reasoned that things might get better within a few months and was willing to wait for the hype to die down. Furthermore, there were many more new places on Boon Tat street to try. A few weeks from when Sum Yi Tai opened, J actually had drinks there with a friend. She didn’t seem too enthusiastic about the place so I forgot about it till my dinner date with Y and M. Since we were looking for a place for drinks after dinner, I thought it would be a good opportunity to check the place out.
Turns out my reasoning was correct. It wasn’t too crowded. And we were able to get a table inside easily. Interestingly, when I first stepped into the restaurant/bar, I spoke to one of the wait staff at the entrance, a lady who was busy looking at this device in her hands. She actually ignored me which prompted me to repeat my request for a table. When she looked up, it was then she asked me whether I spoke mandarin to which I hastily blurted out my request in mandarin. Later on, when we were ready to order, she appeared at my table again. I pointed out which drinks I wanted from the menu to which she showed me her ordering device which was all in English and explained that she only just started the job the day before and queried whether I knew how to key in the orders. I was rather amused by the whole situation, so I literally keyed in the cocktails orders myself and left her to press the ‘send’ button or something like that. I’m not sure if the manager was aware of this or not, but this was surely keeping in line with the Chinese theme of the restaurant – all orders and requests to be made in mandarin!
Anyhow, returning back to the restaurant itself. M commented that the decor of the place gave her this vibe of some kind of underground Chinese den where we would expect to find a hidden room at the back where triad members and their leaders would gather for their card games and wine. Somehow, I’m inclined to agree. It did give off that kind of vibe. I suppose part of it could be attributed to the roast chickens hanging in the window next to the bar. LOL.
We tried three of their cocktails that night. Sum Yi Tai translated from Cantonese means ‘third wife’. The cocktails all have very interesting names and seem to revolve around the relationship between a man and a women – perhaps the third wife and her husband?
First Rose ($21) – “She remembers that rose, the one he first gave to her, along with that ring, the one that made her heart melt”. Bourbon, apricot brandy, roses and lemons. Out of the 3 cocktails we ordered, this was probably the strongest. However, despite that, we still got the hint of lemon and apricot which was really nice.
Chinese Mojito ($21) – “She is beautiful in her traditional charm and refreshing in her modernist bite. A clash of yin & yang, right & wrong, always conflicted yet whole.” Chrysanthemum rum, syrup, lemon, mint and soda
Date a Gangster ($21) – “She would do anything for him, anything at all. Such is the life of gangster’s wife”. Whiskey, Drambuie Liqueur, Triple Sec, lemons and dates.
Initially I had wanted another cocktail but was shortly informed that the bar could not make it for me. So the waiter suggested this instead and insisted that I would like it. Hmmm, don’t think I was as wowed by it as I was by the Chinese Mojito. I got a really strong whiskey and lemon taste, but I think the (sweetness) of the dates was overpowered by all that liqueur. Don’t think this is something I would order again. To each their own I guess.
I’ve noted before that part of the lure of getting cocktails are
1. Interesting names
2. Nice presentation
3. Awesome flavours
I think that Sum Yi Tai has somewhat been successful in all three elements with their cocktail offerings (especially with the names) though I do admit that drinking cocktails is something like drinking wine, you never really know what you’re going to get, and that is half the fun sometimes. Though it does feel a little ….. when everyone else seems to get a really cool cocktail except you. Worth trying at least once. It’s a fun place to catch up, or even to bring that friend visiting from overseas. As expected from a bar located in the CBD area, prices are not cheap.
Add: 25 Boon Tat Street