Shri pop-up gets a festive facelift with Shri Whisky Library
Gone are the surfboards, the hula girls and the cocktails served in coconuts. Shri Restaurant’s pop-up tiki bar has hung up its grass skirt for the last time. Its doors have been closed and sealed up with a heavy wooden bookcase. End of story.
But not really. The tiki bar’s creator Richie Fawcett has come back with something completely different for the winter season. Give that bookcase a gentle nudge and you’ll realise it moves, it slides, it opens. Welcome to the Shri Whisky Library, the first speak-easy bar in Saigon.
Decorated in the style of a Scottish Highland hunting lodge, it’s a cosy den of dark woods and candlelight, of antique furniture and vintage curios. A large bull’s head hangs above the open fireplace and the mirrored backbar sparkles with gleaming bottles of the library’s signature offerings. Opened in partnership with Alchemy Wines and Spirits, and The Macallan Highland Single Malt Scotch, the drinks choices here are the epitome of top-shelf.
With choices ranging from The Macallan’s Fine Oak 12 year, to 15 year, 18 year and Sienna varieties (all available by the glass from VND 230,000), up to The Macallan Rare Cask and The Macallan Reflexion (sold by the bottle only), this is a place for the serious whisky drinkers of Saigon. If you’re more of a bourbon fan, three styles of Wild Turkey (including the moreish honey variety) are on offer too.
Cocktail hounds will want to investigate the eclectic list of signature concoctions (VND 190,000). The Fat Old Fashioned takes the classic tipple to new heights, blending barrel-aged bacon-washed Macallan 12 whisky with maple syrup, orange bitters and a sphere of hand-carved ice. Things get even more interesting in the smoked cocktail section of the menu.
Shri Whisky Library has become the first bar in Vietnam to import specially-made cocktail smoking devices. Once the drink has been created, it is left to sit in a bell jar pumped with various flavours of smoke including cigar tobacco and jasmine tea. The result is out-of-this-world good as an entire new spectrum of flavours opens up.
Bar snacks are also available and include grilled meat skewers (from VND 135,000) and Japanese gyoza (VND 145,000). As with anything coming out of Shri’s kitchens, you know they’re going to be good.
So put on your mittens and scarf and head to the top of the Centec mountain. “The whisky bar will be on for the whole winter,” says Fawcett. “Until the snow thaws.”
By Simon Stanley.
The Shri Whisky Library is at level 23 of the Centec Tower, 72-74 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, District 3.