Deep in the Muslim quarter of Singapore lies Haji Lane, a tiny street where turnover is high and shops, cafes and restaurants have to be great just to survive. Over the last few years the street has been transformed into a fashionista’s paradise reminiscent of Le Marais in Paris. It is an aggressively hip collection of narrow shop-houses that have become chic boutiques with cutting edge labels that have yet to debut in Singapore’s massive shopping malls. Right at the gateway to all this cool is I am…, a café owned by Muhamad Jamuri bin Busori, better known as Jam Ignite, that serves simple but beautifully cooked halal food and some very special mocktails. The inspiration behind I am… came from his visits to Amsterdam and the love he feels for the Dutch capital. Indeed a quick look at I am…’s Facebook page shows that the café’s name is a derivative of I Amsterdam. The theme extends to every aspect of the café and shows a genuine passion for the city and its way of life. There is a gorgeous, hand painted, floor to ceiling, mural of an Amsterdam canal scene that covers an entire wall and a myriad of other details that even extend to two push bikes being propped up outside the cafe.
Working alongside Jam Ignite is Singaporean cocktail making legend Jaffar Bin Sariban, or as he is famously known, Sarong. Sarong is of Javanese descent and his background as a dancer and fire twirler is just the start of a fusion of music and culture that lead to fame as a musician with percussion band Wicked Aura Batucada. Sarong’s career has embraced a variety of beach clubs and it was working at KM8 that he developed his vodka based signature drink, the Sarong Fly. Nearly five years after the closure of KM8, Sarong has brought all of his creative wizardry to I am…. The bustling commercial centre of Singapore is a far cry from the beach clubs of Sarong’s past but I am…provides another inflexion point for an artist that approaches each new challenge with a unique sense of fun.
Equitorial shopping is always hot and thirsty work and I am… has an inspired range of mocktails that make a refreshing change from everyday soft drinks. Two favourites are the Blue Dot and the Bushrahmint. Why not try both?
30ml Pineapple juice
15ml Giffard Banana syrup
15ml Giffard Blue Curacao syrup
Top up with orange juice
Add a dash of soda water
Garnish with a cherry and slice of orange
Method: Build. Add ice to a tumbler glass and then add all the ingredients in succession.
Bushramint – An I am… signature
15ml Giffard strawberry syrup
60ml Pineapple juice
3 orange slices
Top up with Soda Water
Garnish with pineapple and mint leaves
Method: Build. Muddle mint leaves in a tumbler glass, add ice and all the ingredients in succession.