Turning into Dunlop Street from Jalan Besar, the atmosphere took a dip from the bustling main road to a relatively calm one-way street. That night, at the early hour of ten, we were accompanied by the sounds of prayers transmitted from the historic Masjid Abdul Gaffoor. Donned in majestic yellow and green, the mosque was a sight to behold. The magnitude of it might not be startling but the features were everything beautiful. A visit during daytime is a must, I promised myself.
Along the way, there were backpacker lodges and budget hotels with their bright, colourful signboards. And we found a good number of Indian restaurants, serving dishes of different origins; South, North and Indian Muslim. I might have just found my shangri-la.
We were already veering towards the heart of Little India. I must admit that I was slightly lost in the energetic, amplified beats of Indian music blaring from the shops and the newfound excitement for the eateries that surrounded me.
And then, there was Zsofis.
The vibe was right that night, the moment I heard Feist’s One Evening.
And Coldplay’s God Put A Smile Upon Your Face.
The bar was gradually filled with patrons as the hours went on. Tourists, locals and us; all in search of a good time on a Saturday night. We started off with beers. I like mine dark and malty. Erdinger Dunkel and Guiness Stout seemed like good choices. Hoegaarden offered the forbidden fruit, De Verboden Vrucht (Le Fruit Defendu) which came with, yes, a potent, fruity flavour. The tequila and vodka shots followed. And the greeting of a dear old friend, the long island tea.
Each drink came with a free tapas serving. Towards the end of the night, we had sampled about seven or eight of them. Sweet and spicy Spanish salami slices, fiery hot chilli buffalo wings, crispy Calamares Rebozados (deep-fried squid rings), rich Huevos Rellenos con Alcaparras (halved eggs stuffed with cream, capers and topped with caviar), savoury Brochetas de Esparragos y Bacon (bacon wrapped asparagus) and tasty Croquetas de Queso con Jamon (potato fritters with ham and cheese), among others.
They said that one should not drink on an empty stomach. I absolutely agree, especially when the tapas are delicious.
I would love to meet Zsofis, the Spanish lass whom had inspired the opening of this tapas bar. She must have been a lover of good music and good food. I am almost certain that she is as bubbly and interesting as the owner, Janice.
From our strategic seats, we were able to observe the activities that were taking place in the bar. And yet, all I could do was immerse in the cool selection of music that crossed between pop, indie and fun. None of that torchy stuff to fire up the already hot, transition days to the months of dry spell ahead.
I wanted to leave a word or two on the blackboard before calling it a night but gave up in the end, for the crapulous state of mine did not permit the flow of a good line to compliment the awesome tapas bar they called Zsofis.
68 Dunlop Street
Tel: (+65) 6297 5875
Mobile: (+65) 84284284