Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Goldfinch Tavern

We finally popped into Goldfinch Tavern for drinks and snacks. The restaurant is part of Ethan Stowell's concepts and its downtown location can't be more convenient. We've dined at other restaurants in the group, but I've always hesitated to step into Goldfinch Tavern for a meal because there're so many good restaurants in Puget Sound. A restaurant at a hotel isn't enticing enough.

When I tried Goldfinch Tavern's offerings, I was right. Food was simply decent as expected, but not mindblowing. Or rather, it's exactly what I expect of a 'renowned' restaurant sited in a downtown Four Seasons Hotel- delivering food at the consistency it should. It's a matter should I put it... paying S$25 for good chicken rice at a hotel instead of say S$10 at the equally (if not better) delicious Five Stars or Nam Kee.

The bar carries the expected range of beers from a golden ale to an IPA. Taps should rotate with the seasons I guess. Dunno if the cocktails are great. Not that keen on those, and I suppose this is where the bartenders come in—to create something valuable and build the brand.

Hideki's 'on the spur of the moment' un-named creation.

One late afternoon at the bar, I thought the dude next to us was drunk. He had about three beers, went out and came back all giggly. Then I realized that he wasn't quite drunk. He was high on something else! Hahahaha. When the man asked about a Glenlivet 34y.o bottling by A.D Rattray, he was hoping to hear tasting notes and perhaps a comparison to another familiar single malt, something that could be read off the box or whatever. But the bartender fumbled and tried in vain to explain the idea of independent bottlings of whisky. Zzzzzz. I'm well acquainted with that particular expression, but the man isn't. And since the question wasn't directed at me, I didn't bother to fill in the information gap. Hahaha. He was better off googling. I resisted smirking.

Said fumbling bartender's colleague was way more experienced, and the man asked him to make a cocktail. This is Hideki Anpo who made an eclectic un-named cocktail with apple brandy (Calvados Du Pays D’Auge Reserve Cognac), Rittenhouse rye, his housemade caraway bitters, etc. The man liked it very much. I took sips. It was pretty good.

Jabriel's 'The 1912 Pike'.
Happy to have met Jabriel Donohue on another night when we decided to have a nightcap after a gig. He was really good, compared to the other bartenders on duty during the other time we dropped in. Or perhaps we were the last customers of the night and he wasn't as tense as he would normally be mid-way through an exhausting shift. He's well acquainted with the bar and cocktails scene on this side of the world. A chat led to a discovery of mutual acquaintances in Hong Kong and Singapore. How fun!

Gamely tried Jabriel's concoction of which he named 'The 1912 Pike'. The grapefruit juice balanced out the sugars in an otherwise too-sweet vodka cocktail. It seems that cocktails are finally moving away from being pure sugar bombs. Tickled by those coffee beans. A total throwback! To the times when we threw in coffee beans with sambuca shots.

We were just gonna have one drink, but gladly stayed for three. It was a great chat with Jabriel. Kinda interrupted their closing time. Oops. Thanks for making our night, Jabriel.

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