At the Bar with Bibi Ji Chef Amar Singh 

Head to Carlton’s colourful new Indian casual diner Bibi Ji for street-inspired snacks and delicious boozy tipples– where curries and cocktails are desirable table mates.

Chef and owner Amar Singh runs Bibi Ji; he’s also the owner of North Fitzroy’s Horn Please and Kyneton’s Dhaba at the Mill and co-owner of Daughter In Law restaurant and bar with Jessi Singh.

From fried snacks to paneers and buttery Punjabi lentil dishes, you’ll also find plenty of cocktails from classic margaritas to nostalgic Pina Coladas, Mango Mai Tai and we love the sound of a non-alcoholic Hot Masala Chai too. There’s beers and whisky by the glass; from Lark Distillery in Tasmania to Woodford Reserve from Kentucky, USA.

Amar Singh spoke to The Write Drop for our At The Bar series.

MY CITY

I live in Fitzroy North, Melbourne and love living here because it’s a vibrant community with a great mix of culture, food and green spaces. The local markets and cafes are fantastic, and the neighbourhood has a creative, welcoming vibe that makes it feel like home.

FAVOURITE FOOD MEMORY 

The most special food memories come from childhood – home-cooked dishes by Bebe and Bibiji [Mum and Granny] who are the souls of my recipes. Their cooking has always inspired me. They are the ones who made me fall in love with cooking in the first place, and I have tried to bring the same taste, generational recipes and flavours in every dish that’s crafted here at Bibi Ji.

FAVOURITE BAR 

Underwood Wine Bar, Fitzroy North is a place where I find my solace, and love sitting with friends or all on my own with my favourite glass of wine and some crispy starters.

DRINK THAT DESCRIBES YOU

Cabernet Sauvignon is my go-to because it’s bold and full of character, just like me. I also enjoy a good Pinot Noir for its versatility, which reflects my adaptable and multifaceted nature. For something lighter, a crisp Sauvignon Blanc matches my refreshing and energetic side.

BEST HANGOVER CURE

Hydration is the best way to cure a hangover, start with a big glass of water with a pinch of sea salt and a squeeze of lemon to replenish electrolytes and hydrate your body.

BEST INTERSTATE BAR 

A favourite in Sydney was Bulletin Place. It has closed down now, but it was cosy, intimate space with a relaxed atmosphere and a focus on craft cocktails made with locally sourced ingredients. The bartenders were incredibly skilled and passionate about their craft, creating innovative and delicious drinks that are a true reflection of Sydney’s vibrant cocktail culture.  The menu changes regularly based on seasonal produce, ensuring each visit is a unique experience. Whether you’re a cocktail connoisseur or just looking for a great place to unwind with friends, Bulletin Place is worth a visit. I love trying something new every time I visit.

FAVOURITE WINE

My favourite bottle of wine is a beautifully aged Cabernet Sauvignon from the Yarra Valley. I love sharing it with friends and family during a relaxed evening at home. We often pair it with a home-cooked meal, like a perfectly roasted leg of chicken with rosemary and garlic. We sit around the table, enjoying the rich flavours of the wine, sharing stories, and creating wonderful memories together. It’s those moments of connection andjoy that make enjoying a great bottle of wine so special.

FAVOURITE WINERY

Yering Station. It’s not just the exceptional wines that draw me in, but also the picturesque setting and rich history of the estate.  The cellar door experience at Yering Station is unparalleled, with knowledgeable staff guiding you through tastings of their award-winning wines while you take in stunning views of the vineyards and surrounding countryside. It’s the perfect place to spend a leisurely afternoon with friends or family, indulging in delicious wine and enjoying the beauty of nature.

NEXT DESTINATION

Tokyo, Japan. It’s a culinary mecca with a vibrant food scene and a rich heritage. As a chef I am constantly seeking new flavours, techniques, and inspirations, and Tokyo offers an endless array of opportunities to expand my culinary repertoire. From Michelin-starred restaurants to street food stalls, there’s something for every palate in Tokyo. I’m excited to explore the bustling markets, discover fresh, seasonal ingredients, and immerse myself in the artistry of their cuisine. Plus, experiencing the culture and traditions of Japan first-hand would be an unforgettable adventure.

www.bibiji.com.au

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