Where you now and what are you doing?
Right now, I’m co-founder and head bartender of PS150, a cocktail bar with heavy South-east Asian influence – from the ingredients to the liquors obtained around the region like Koh Samui’s cachaca to Malaysia’s own blended whisky. Located on the bustling Petaling Street, PS150 is hidden at the back away from the traffic with a vintage toy store as a front. We are no speakeasy but a rather sneaky bar that will transport you from pre-prohibition to contemporary era.
What’s the best/ worst part of your job?
Each job in different establishment comes with a different “best & worst”, I gotta say that the best part about this job is the human interaction and learning how to identify and adapt quickly to guest’s expectations or staff’s worries. It does teach you how to be a calmer person and also when to stay firm.
The worst (for now as it changes time to time) is when a guest says “surprise me”, “whatever you like” and/or “give me your best cocktail” during a busy service where orders are constantly flowing in. After mixing up whatever I like, there were times where they go “oh, I don’t drink vodka” or “I can’t stand herbaceous stuff”. Do not and I will repeat, do not do this to the bartenders especially on a busy night, tell them the basic information like what is your favourite or hated spirit base, sweet or sour and/or a particular flavour you like example nutty, floral, etc. It does help us to make you a good drink and you would want to pay for something good wouldn’t you? A stressed up bartender will usually make a mediocre drink.
What’s your favourite meal?
Three half-boiled eggs with a small sprinkle of grounded white pepper and dash of light soy sauce, two slices of steamed local white loaves to soak up the tasty mess, one chargrilled butter-kaya bun for dessert and kopi-peng-kao kurang manis (extra strong local butter-roasted black coffee with a healthy measurement of condense milk) to buzz you right up at Chin Mee Chin Confectionery or any nearest kopitiam (coffee shops). It’s the best all-day breakfast meal.
The perfect day off would be…
Disposing of all electronic devices, jumping into a car and driving to any isolated river with a waterfall and hot spring close by. The checklist would definitely be bottles of lager, two sets of Subway and chips, one full packet of clove cigarettes, substantial quantity of H2O, a good biography book, practice flair bottle and tin shaker. Perfect.
A day in the life of a head bartender is…
Building and training the best team, researching and developing cocktails and deciphering the P&L statement while having lack of sleep.
What do you do for fun?
Carnivals, theme parks, waterparks, arcades or any kid-like activities. Being raised in a fast-paced city for most of my life, you tend to lose your innocence faster and forget what is really important in life. When you are in an environment where laughter, screams and tears are common and not frowned upon, you then realize all social etiquette are off the table. Now, that is when the fun gets started.
What’s something you’d like guests to know about PS150?
Our cocktail menu changes every three months, and consists of five different era cocktails (1850s-Present). In a way, we wanted to share with guests the different era’s style of cocktails and what the yesteryears’ palates were like. You can notice straight away that vintage era (pre-prohibition) are usually quite strong, the common formula is alcohol on alcohol with a little dash of bitters. Not long, classic era (prohibition) arrived. This was when the trend of drinking cocktails became popular! With the rough bootleg spirits that are going around the saloons, the bartenders had to be creative with their sweet and sour and other side ingredients. Tiki era (post-war) was a no brainer of how the cocktails changes. After the war, the marines who were stationed in the island brought back rum and topical fruits! And let’s not forget the disco era (dark ages – all pun intended). As long as it’s strong, sweet and can knock us out while dancing the night away – we’ll order it. Last but not least contemporary era which is relatively new in the industry – we are constantly experimenting with making our own products and pushing the limits by using culinary into mixing. For each twist, you can opt for the original version too! Just let our cocktail servers know and we will whip it up for you.
Every Sunday is our MP3 Sunday where each week is the different genre, from 40’s swing to 90’s R&B which will be posted on our Facebook page. You can bring a 30 minute playlist of your choice, either using Spotify and share it with us or save the playlist in your iPod or smartphone and bring on the day. Aside from sipping cocktails while listening to your own selection, each submitted playlist will get our in-house speciality shot!
What’s your favourite food and cocktail pairing?
Sushi and Salty Chinaman is my current favourite pairing. Salty Chinaman is a tall refreshing drink that is slightly sweet, savoury, sour and bitter at the same time. It washes down perfectly well while resetting your profile for the next bite!
What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?
Our new menu is out for sure! We change it quarterly. Every month, we will be doing something different and with products that aren’t being receiving much limelight. This is something PS150 strives for and hopes to continue sharing ideas and knowledge.