#10QuestionswithMaxwell Interview Series: Jeremy Heng, The Tipsy Tavern
In this week’s interview, we reached out to Jeremy Heng, Co-Owner & Resident Mixologist of The Tipsy Tavern, located at Maxwell Chambers. He has close to 10 years of F&B experience under his belt, working as an Operations Ninja at Elite Bar Solutions and has even done a short 2-year stint with William Grant & Sons as a Whisky specialist.
We find out more about the founding story of The Tipsy Tavern, the food and cuisine they serve, Jeremy’s personal favourite in their menu and more.
Q: How was The Tipsy Tavern founded? Tell us the founding story.
A: My partner and I met while in the Elite Commando Unit. It’s been a good 10 years since we’ve met, and maybe about 5-6 years since we’ve been talking about setting up a business together – something we can call our own.
He is a businessman, and I’ve been in the F&B industry the second I started working, so the obvious solution was to set up a cocktail bar – where both food and drinks would impress. More importantly, a place where friends, family and strangers could gather for business or for leisure.
Having patronized countless Cocktail Bars in Singapore, many of our conversations revolved around the “pretentious”, albeit “serious” atmosphere of the venues. Something we didn’t want to translate to The Tipsy Tavern. Also, we want our patrons to come for our food and drinks, but stay for the hospitable, friendly and chill vibe.
Q: Could you share with us more about the symbolism behind The Tipsy Tavern’s name and your logo?
A: The logo was designed by my business partner. I believe he drew inspiration from The Tipsy Tavern’s initials, “TTT”. We went through various designs but eventually decided on this because it looks like a cluster of cottages, which signify family – and that’s what we are.
While brain-storming decoration ideas, we realised that we were drawing inspiration from various tavern-like places – from wooden furniture, to a darker colour palette. Also, being a casual cocktail bar, the word “Tipsy” just felt appropriate.
Q: Tell us more about the food and cuisine you serve.
A: We have a variety of cuisines on our menu, from Japanese (Donburis) to Italian-inspired dishes (hei-bi pasta, arancini, porchetta), and even to Mexican (pulled pork tacos) and Western (grilled cheese) dishes. Our menu is constantly evolving, and we hope to have something for everyone.
The one thing that we’re super proud of is that as much as possible, everything is prepared in house, and from scratch – from our homemade Donburi sauce for our Japanese Rice Bowls, to the refreshing Mango Salsa in our Pulled Pork Tacos, and even the sweet House Salad dressing that was inspired by the Chinese yusheng. Our Head Chef also ensures the quality of not only the dishes we present to our consumers, but also the raw ingredients.
Q: Why did you decide to have the café/bar at Maxwell Chambers?
A: My partner and I got to know about this space through a mutual friend. After checking out the space a few times, we were convinced that it was suitable for what we had in mind – something smal, cozy and comfortable. Also, it’s a 5 minute walk from Tanjong Pagar MRT station – we really liked the convenience and foot traffic.
However, due to the Heightened Alert phases, and working from home being the default, the crowd has definitely gotten a lot smaller. But we are hopeful that the Singapore Government has taken good measures to contain the virus and that the crowd will be back in due time!
Q: Are there any new developments coming up?
A: Of course. Our menu is ever-changing and we’re constantly exploring various ways to incorporate different cuisines and flavours into our dishes and drinks. We will also be releasing seasonal menu items in due time, in correspondence with various Holidays.
Q: How did you get into the F&B industry?
A: I started out being a part-time waiter at 19 years old as a way to earn some cash. At 22, I started doing more bartending “gigs” for various events – from private parties, to corporate functions, and even public festivals.
Being around various types of alcohol got me intrigued, and I soon developed an obsession with finding out more about the production of spirits, particularly whisky. As the years passed, I think my interest slowly shifted to imparting the knowledge I gained to friends, family and strangers alike.
Q: Share with us your personal favourite in your menu.
A: I love the Signature Negroni.
Q: Share with us your signature cocktail mix.
A: The Signature Negroni is my take on a Classic Negroni, which aims to balance out the bitterness of the classic drink with my secret ingredient: salted caramel, and some quality Kopi Vermouth. My vision of a good cocktail is that it should not have a large amount of dominant flavours that can be hard for individuals to taste past. A solid cocktail should not need to have complex flavours for one to enjoy it.
Q: We are curious – what do you usually do during the weekends or during your free time?
A: “If I had free time” – Hahaha. If I really had free time, I would definitely spend more times with my friends and family.
Q: If you could turn back time, what is one thing you might have done differently?
A: By buying the winning tickets in the lottery last Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. I don’t have to go back 10 years. I only need 10 days.
But jokes aside, I would definitely want to lead a healthier lifestyle. Having constantly been in the F&B industry, I’ve had to entertain clients and guests throughout my career. I am now at the age where I treasure my health over everything else, and am slowly seeing the signs, unfortunately, of having to wine and dine clients.