Granted, Nemesis is not the first of its kind. That subversive, back-door dive bar type of aesthetic is hardly original. Yet, the neon splay and playfully defaced portraits positioned within an old-school Duxton shophouse are a refreshing welcome. Besides all graphic elements seemingly joining forces to scream ‘youth’, so do the libations.
In lieu of the age-old nag to eat your greens, the bar prefers you drink them, offering fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables in house-made cordials. Each cocktail features a hero ingredient, all in the goodwill of helping you achieve the recommended dietary intake of two daily portions. Not. The signature NoLo (No-or-Low ABV) Aperitivo like Iaso made from ingredients such as fennel and alternative classics including the Manly Glass with strawberry are easy to drink, but the martinis are lethal. Or at least the one we tried: Wise Crack comprising sage.
Rather, they make befitting pairings to the food. The bar’s now semi-famous Lasagna takes a house-made recipe, with the crumb coating fried to breaded satisfaction. Another antipasti, Olives is a fascinating combination of green olives and goat cheese fried in beer batter, served with a goat cheese dip. The star, though, would be the 10 inches of hand-kneaded goodness by Park Bench Deli’s Andrei Soen and Matt Kuhnemann.
The red bases are outdone by the white, such as the sinful carbs-on-carbs Potato Salad with béchamel and chive oil, and simple pasta-inspired Cacio e Pepe which is personally a pepper shake shy from perfection. It might just be the base, brushed from crust tip to end in brown butter, that hard carries them all.
Working better as a composite than individual parts, the food and drinks are best framed by the setting. The intimate space with raw walls hosts well—from before sundown with natural daylight filtering in through the skylight, to after-hours where the panel strip illuminating the bar counter takes the spotlight. That and the cheeky bums printed on your coasters.
Nemesis is located at 37 Duxton Hill, Singapore 089615.