Haji Lane's LongPlay plays it hip

Togarashi Squid with Harissa dip, from LongPlay at 4 Haji Lane.
Togarashi Squid with Harissa dip, from LongPlay at 4 Haji Lane.PHOTOS: THE NEW PAPER

SINGAPORE - (THE NEW PAPER) As if Haji Lane needs another hipster-magnet outlet. But this one, I don't mind.

LongPlay is, fittingly, a long and narrow bar and restaurant with fancy cocktails and music played on a turntable.

What's missing is a bartender with a topknot and a funky beard.

I do not drink, so I rely on the opinions of those who do, and the general impression is that while the names of the cocktails sound fun (like Fred Ast'air'e and Marlon Brando), the taste is quite robust.

I took a couple of sips and I can vouch that while the drinks look pretty, the alcohol packs a punch. This is excellent for adventurous drinkers. The food menu is tiny and comprises small dishes meant to be shared.

At LongPlay, the music is the best part of the experience. It plays music harking back to the 50s. All on vinyl, naturally.

I'm not an audiophile and my plebeian ears cannot make out the subtle differences in the sound. But I can certainly feel the eclectic and exciting music mix, and that made the night extra special.

CHICKEN TENDERS

The Buttermilk Chicken with Coronation sauce ($12) can be finished in minutes. The chicken is marinated for two days and is tender to the bite. I did not understand or appreciate the Coronation sauce though. Usually made out of mayonnaise with curry powder, the version here was flat.

SPICE SQUID

My favourite item on the menu is the Togarashi Squid with Harissa dip ($14). Deep-fried squid may be rather ubiquitous, but the dusting of spices - including paprika and chilli - gave it an extra kick. For extra heat, the Harissa sauce (a Tunisian chilli paste) comes in handy. Be sure to squeeze the lime over it because that brightens the dish, giving it yet another dimension.

VEGETARIAN OPTION

The Butternut Squash, Gorgonzola & Sourdough Bread ($17) is another favourite. It was sweet, salty and creamy all at once.

FLAVOURLESS DISH

The Mac & Cheese ($16) fails the moment you taste it. It smells amazing but tasted flavourless. It was just a pan of mild mush under a sizzling blanket of mild cheese.

HARD MEATBALLS

New to the menu are the Angus Meatballs ($15). They were tough - almost hard - and it took effort to chew, but the tangy sauce saved it.

WHAT LongPlay

WHERE 4 Haji Lane

WHEN Tuesdays to Thursdays (6pm to midnight), Fridays, Saturdays and eve of public holidays (6pm to 1am), Sundays (4pm to midnight)

CALL 6291-3323


This article was first published on April 8, 2015.
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