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The Capitol Milk Bar – An Elevated ’60s Redux of The Old Magnolia Snack Bars

Revival? Reincarnation? This place will take you back to fond memories of the heydays of old Singapore.

By Joshua Ng | 01 August, 2019 | Features, Food, New Openings, Restaurants
2019-08-01 17:42:32 2019-08-01 17:42:32

These days, we’re all about the old school cool. Many talk about looking back to the past for inspiration and “remembering our roots”. Nostalgia is rad and we’re moving back to the ‘60s all over again. I’ve read it somewhere before that the fashion world goes through a cycle that revisits the past every few years and brings something back from then, in one way or another. I believe the same happens in the food world.

At the first floor of Arcade @ Capitol Kempinski, a revival has happened. The Capitol Milk Bar now stands as a reincarnation of the Magnolia Snack Bars; ask any veteran movie buff about Capitol Theatre and chances are he will remember the Magnolia Snack Bar, the place for delicious milkshakes. Dating back to 1937, the cosy ‘Creameries Milk Bar’ in the old Capitol Building was a local hit with its ice creams, milkshakes and cakes. This made waves islandwide, leading to the rise of many Magnolia Snack Bars.

The Capitol Milk Bar isn’t just a ‘60s redux. Since the closure of the bars in the late 1980’s, much has happened to the landscape of Singapore in all aspects. The Capitol Milk Bar recognises these changes in their menu yet respects its heritage with its retro elements.

Don’t the pictures look like a 4K, high-definition version of old Singapore? One can’t help but bring up nostalgic images with Archie Comics and Scooby-Doo vibes. For millennials, perhaps more Riverdale and Stranger Things.

The menu features back-to-basics old school family diner food like simple pork sausage hot dogs in The Classic “New Yorker” with mustard, ketchup, cucumber relish and crispy onion, and more adventurous The “Rio Rita”: spicy beef sausage, arugula, chili con carne, mozzarella cheese and tomato salsa. The adventures don’t end there – prolong your meal with an upsize and have a 1-metre-long hot dog that would surely make a statement both visually and gastronomically.

Of course, every diner will have a selection of burgers and sandwiches. The Capitol Milk Bar aims to please with a range of meat options in their burgers; they’re even named after the people of old. To name a few, The “Stamford” is a pulled pork burger with flavours of yuzu and apple butter barbecue sauce; The “Capitol” carries a 150g slab of Black Angus beef patty wrapped in an egg; The “Mary Pickford” will get you hooked with Greenland shrimp in brioche roll; and smoked salmon highlights The “Sir Douglas Fairbanks”.

Milkshakes at The Capitol Milk Bar are so decadent and full that their own cups can’t hold them. Literally. With flavours that span from timeless classics to more funky modern renditions, customers will not be disappointed. Familiar favourites like Milo “Dinosaur” Milkshake and Nutella Milkshake pack a mean punch and can pass as a small yet filling meal on its own for some. Locally inspired Chendol Milkshake make an appearance as well, with all the goodness of red bean, pandan jelly, gula Melaka and coconut flakes all translated from bowl to cup. Not up for milkshakes? 10 flavours of ice cream and sorbets await your choice should you opt for something simpler but be sure to check out the signature Capitol Milk Bar Banana Split while you’re browsing the ice cream section – a heightened version of everyone’s favourite childhood treat complete with the classic 3 ice cream flavours served with caramelised banana raisin, freeze dried banana and banana rum glaze.

Let’s celebrate the Merdeka and Pioneer Generation together. The Capitol Milk Bar would be a brilliant place to bring our favourite oldies to for a treat. The Bar will definitely resurface long-buried memories and stories repressed by the passing of time.


The Capitol Milk Bar

Arcade @ The Capitol Kempinski, #01-84B, Singapore 178906

Tel: +65 67156874

Observant and mostly impartial, Joshua has an uncanny predilection for an appreciation of things. This English student yearns to see the coffee story told to people, more than just pretty cafes and tulips. His favourite quote: “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet…”