Fancy, North Canal Road
Stepping into this brand new watering hole along a stretch of an unassuming street, Fancy was not what I was expecting. It’s modern, minimal aesthetics, mirrors it’s philosophy in their cocktails and food. For a place called Fancy, there was a noticeable lack of theatrics.
You have no idea how much the aesthetic of the bar speaks to me. Grey concrete floors, monochromatic furniture, a single pink daisy adorne each table giving a pop of colour. The main feature on the far back wall cycles through projections of various images that reflects the same pink accents dotted around the space. It reminded me of the chic, sophisticated space of an art gallery, which, being a former art student, felt incredibly familiar.
Fancy’s minimalist approach to its design is spills over to their drinks and dishes. Especially with their drinks, the lack of dramatic and quirky garnishes was a conscious decision.
Starting off with something light, Chrysanthemum’s ($22) main ingredient is something you don’t see in typical cocktails. A vodka based drink with carrot juice! With a light sweetness from the carrot and a herbaceous undertone, the flavour boggles my mind with the guise of drinking something healthy. I’m personally not the biggest fan of carrots, but if you are, you might just have found the drink for you.
Another drink with a unique combination came in the form of Lavender ($22). The mix of blackberries and port wine with cold brew coffee and a calvados base was something I didn't see coming. As someone who loved both coffee and wine, a drink that tastes like coffee flavoured wine was honestly what dreams are made of. The first whiff of the drink smelt like a fresh cuppa in the morning. The combination of sweet blend of berries and port wine, along with the smooth boldness from the apple brandy and cold brew was heavenly to me.
The next drink is something I wouldn’t have chosen myself. Orange Blossom ($22) had all the flavour profile of a cocktail I love, with none of the usual ingredients. Mezcal, a liquor I usually tend to avoid, was the base of this surprisingly bold cocktail. Bittersweet and smokey with a hint of tanginess, each ingredient seemed to complement the next. The grapefruit, dried cherries and honey create the perfect blend of bitter, tart and sweet, with the honey and salt accentuating the smoky mezcal. A drink that was completely up my alley.
Final drink of the night, Osmanthus ($22) is probably one of the simplest drink on the menu. Just bourbon, chocolate and raspberry vinegar, resembling a good Old Fashioned. It was smooth and light to start with a strong kick of the alcohol at the end. A familiar drink with similar flavours but with a twist, it was definitely one of my favourites of the night.
Tasting this many delightful cocktails, you’d definitely work up an appetite. Fancy has an eclectic selection of grub that's great for any occasion.
The Chicken Skewers ($12) and Charred Octopus ($26) were just as simple as everything else, but honestly, that’s what great about them. The chicken was incredibly soft and juicy, the simple flavours of a savoury grilled chicken done perfectly, paired with appetising homemade pickles are really hard to beat.
The octopus was perfect, with just a bit of chewiness. The perfect amount of smoky char, the sweet seafood flavour paired with the caramelised pineapple was addictive that I might have scoffed it down too fast.
Looking for a more filling meal? Here’s the Duck Regú Pasta ($18). The fact that the rigatoni was done al dente made me incredibly happy and was an instant win in my books. The duck regú was tender and savoury with a bit of sweetness, without being too gamey. I loved that it was an unpretentious dish evoking a homemade feel to the dish.
If you can't decide what do get, ask about their specials! When we were there, they were introducing a new dish, the Spicy Pork Sliders ($12). The spiciness wasn’t overbearing, but it definitely left a tingling sensation of in my mouth, which I loved. The patty was thick, though a little tough, you can tell that it was freshly made, and I appreciated the standard of quality for a dish that could so easily be sub par.
With so many establishments advertising themselves with gimmicks and flair, you gotta admire Fancy for stripping the publicity device down and letting its food and drinks do the heavy lifting. One might argue that the act of not having a novelty might itself be the strategy, but I can’t help but feel that Fancy is a breath of fresh air when it comes to the bar scene. If you’re always on a lookout for a new place for a tipple, check out Fancy.
35 North Canal Road
Monday to Saturday
5 pm to 12 am
Closed on Sundays