1880 (Singapore) by shane eaton

"It's said you can't choose your family. We say you can."

1880 is an all-in members club in Singapore conceived by Marc Nicholson, who grew up in a family where strong opinions were encouraged. 1880 goes against the grain of a traditional members club, encouraging diversity. The goal of 1880 is to stimulate new conversations that have a positive impact on the world. You can read more about Marc’s inspirations for building 1880 in this article he penned.

1880 features a co-working space, spa, yoga studio, cinema, restaurant and cocktail bar. It even features grooming facilities - perfect for the vagabond in me who often forgets to trim his hair and beard. The club is located within a 22,000 square foot space on the third floor of city’s latest development project, Quayside at Robertson Quay, next to the Singapore River.

On December 2, I flew in from Vancouver to attend the founding members’ gala at 1880. Despite the 40 hours back and forth trip across the Pacific, it was well worth my time to attend one of the best parties ever.

The access point to 1880 is via the Hotel InterContinental with a beautiful escalator surrounded by mirrors with psychedelic lights. It's like being inside a huge kaleidoscope, and the hallucinogenic effect is the perfect gateway for the magic that awaits inside 1880 upstairs. Thanks to Rachel Ling for the awesome video and Eric Chomicz for the beautiful photos of the escalator and private phone booths at 1880.

Video of 1880 escalator by Rachel Ling

Left: The enchanting elevator ride; Right: The privacy booths (Photos by Alex Chomicz)

Left: The enchanting elevator ride; Right: The privacy booths (Photos by Alex Chomicz)

At the top of the escalator, we were greeted by the lovely Jeanine, the woman responsible for membership at 1880. I was amazed she already knew details about me, even if I wasn't yet a member. I was then introduced to the elegantly-dressed and humble CEO of 1880, Luke Jones. I then met Nabil, who manages the floor at 1880. I was impressed with Nabil's hospitality and even more so by his memory, referring to me by name throughout the night, despite the challenge of hosting the hundreds of other founding members in attendance.

Jeanine, Nabil and the whole team at 1880 will make you feel at home. Of course, 1880 may be a lot more beautiful than your home thanks to the slick design, furniture and styling by Timothy Oulton and construction by SpaceMatrix. In fact CEO Luke describes 1880 as “your home away from home. Only better.” Timothy Oulton explains on his web site: “In conceiving 1880’s overall design, we want to respond to the fact that its members are incredibly dynamic and their lifestyle involves a lot of travel, irregular work hours, late nights and early mornings. 1880 promises to be that space in between, offering an antidote to these pressures, a place to decompress, a space for inspiration."

Given my travel schedule and interests, 1880 seemed like the perfect place to be inspired. At the party, my first mission was finding Rusty Cerven, former head bartender at the award-winning Connaught and The Gibson in London, and now the man in charge of the cocktail bar at 1880. It was great to share this night with him - an event I know he's been looking forward to after many months of hard work. On the night, we had great drinks including the Matador with Fortaleza Blanco, Mancino Secco, Becherovka and green tea almond.  Joining Rusty is bar star YiJun, former head bartender at Operation Dagger. Opening night also included Joe Alessandroni of Proof and Company, the guy was responsible for the amazing bar design.

The 1880 cocktail bar is hidden behind thick black drapes, making you feel like you’re entering a privée within the already exclusive club. Called "The Double", it features a bar counter made entirely of a five meter long log! You can also get a cocktail from the members lounge area which is open toujours. The members lounge features a  backbar with a breathtaking dragon design carved into the wall.

The Dragon at the Members Lounge bar

The Dragon at the Members Lounge bar

Although there aren't hundreds of bottles lining the back bars, you will only find the top quality products at 1880. This underscores their philosophy -  Simple, but of the highest possible expression. The great drinks and finger food were complimented with an awesome soundtrack courtesy of music director Aldrin.

With stellar drinks from one of the most stacked bar teams in the world, expect the 1880 cocktail bar to win important awards in its first year.

1880 is a brilliant concept and well executed. Congrats to Marc, Luke, Jeanine, Rusty, June, Timothy, Joe, Paul and the whole team. Marc was quoted as saying “1880 screamed inside of me five years ago. That was it for me, I either had to do it or go mad. But it to make it happen I needed to find some very special artists. And from those people I learnt an awful lot.”

Congratulations Marc, you found some truly amazing artists and 1880 is an astonishing place.

Left: YiJun prepares a cocktail at the Member's Lounge; Right: Neil and Sabrina at the spa entrance 

Left: YiJun prepares a cocktail at the Member's Lounge; Right: Neil and Sabrina at the spa entrance 

Paul, Sabrina, Neil and Shane at the 1880 founding members gala (Photos courtesy of Sabrina)

Paul, Sabrina, Neil and Shane at the 1880 founding members gala (Photos courtesy of Sabrina)

Trippa by shane eaton

quinto quarto at its best :: 10/10 :: €50 for all you could ever want

"Quinto quarto", which means the "fifth quarter", is the offal of butchered animals. This tradition comes from Rome. Until modern day, the division of meat in Rome was made in the following way: the first "quarto" was sold to the rich nobles, the second for the clergy, the third for the Bourgeoisie and the fourth "quarto" was for the soldiers. The lowest class proletariat could afford only the entrails, the "quinto quarto". 

Diego Rossi, with an impressive CV which includes stints Michelin-starred restaurants such as St. Hubertus and Locanda Margon, decided to open Trattoria Trippa to pay tribute to the traditional no frills way of cooking in Italy. He wanted to put more emphasis on the delicious but often discarded parts of meat and fis. 

I first met Diego Rossi at 1930 cocktail bar in Milano. I knew Diego had come up with their latest recipe for the Tartare burger with asinello (donkey) meat but I didn't know much more than that. That evening, Diego told me what Trippa was all about, and I was excited to stop by to try his reinvented Old School approach to cooking. Although it took me a while to finally make it, I'm sure glad I did. 

I miraculously landed a place at the bar counter (note: reservations in advance are essential), the best spot in the restaurant. From here you can admire Diego as he works the tonnato siphon and directs his dynamic kitchen. Instead of ordering from the menu, I decided to put my faith in the chef, opting for an Omakase experience at Trippa.

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The first dish, trippa fritta (fried tripe), should come as no surprise. The namesake dish at Trippa didn't disappoint. The tripe was fried perfectly with a crunchy exterior covering the wonderfully tasty tripe inside. Spectacular! 

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Next up was the signature vitello tonnato (veal with tuna sauce), with an incredibly tender veal and a delicious tuna sauce. Without a doubt, this is the best vitello tonnato I've ever had. The secret is the light and airy tuna sauce, which is whipped with the help of a pressurized siphon. 

Vitello tonnato

Vitello tonnato

 

The third dish, tartare di cavallo e insalata di carciofi (horse tartare and artichoke salad), was my favorite of the night, which is a testament to chef's ability to take dishes we are afraid of, or are perhaps aren't used to eating, and turning them into a joy for our palates. Growing up in Canada, we simply don't eat horse. I've tried horse once in my life and was not a fan. But this tartare was succulent, maybe even better than beef! 

tartare di cavallo e insalata di carciofi

tartare di cavallo e insalata di carciofi

 

The Ravioli al brasato di guancia alla Barbera e mele cotogne (Ravioli with beef cheek braised with Barbera and quince) was a delight (half portion shown below). On my first bite, I was inspired to immediately let chef Diego know how awesome these ravioli were. If you happen to spot this savory dish on the monthly-changing menu at Trippa, order it cazzo!!!  

Ravioli al brasato di guancia alla Barbera e mele cotogne

Ravioli al brasato di guancia alla Barbera e mele cotogne

 

Next up, spalla di montone, crema di topinambour e bergamotto (pulled mutton shoulder, cream of Jerusalem artichoke and bergamot). The mutton was slightly crunchy but very flavorful. Coupled with the tasty artichoke cream, this was one of my favorite dishes of the night. 

spalla di montone, crema di topinambour e bergamotto

spalla di montone, crema di topinambour e bergamotto

 

The oddest dish of the night was Polenta e lingua d'asina brasata al dragoncello (polenta with brasato made with donkey tongue with tarragon). Brasato with polenta is one of my favorite dishes of Northern Italy but it is typically made with beef. In this case, Diego has opted for donkey's tongue, which has an interesting texture and adds an exciting twist to this classic Piedmont specialty. 

Polenta e lingua d'asina brasata al dragoncello

Polenta e lingua d'asina brasata al dragoncello

 

To close the memorable meal was midollo alla brace (bone marrow), another signature at Trippa. This fatty delicacy is a feast to both the eyes and palate. For extra taste, Diego prepares it with rosemary and gives the customer the option to add even more kick with kosher salt.  I can think of no better way to close the adventurous and delicious meal at Trippa.

Thanks to Diego and the staff for a wonderful experience at what is surely one of the top  restaurants in the city. Although the trattoria-style experience may be considered too casual for voters, it wouldn't surprise me if one day Trippa lands the coveted star.   

Midollo alla brace

Midollo alla brace

The set list

The set list