Dining: Careful snacks amid the rush of rum

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THERE is a rum for everyone, they just don’t know it … yet.

That’s the motto of the relatively new The Rum Bar at Kingston Foreshore. I’m not a rum aficionado (unless in the Caribbean on a beach), but am impressed with the massive number of premium types available. I wonder if you waltzed up to the bar and asked any staff member for an explanation on, say, “the third rum” from the top of the list, whether they’d be able to provide a dissertation on same? Probably they would.

The pintxos menu is not extensive but carefully developed, with “snack dishes” ranging from $6 for a bowl of mixed olives to the heartier charcuterie board, a selection of seasonal cured meats, anchovies, olives, parfait and house-made poppy seed crackers for $22 (for two).

The Rum Bar isn’t a food destination, but a place that recognises the importance of putting something in your stomach when drinking, for physical support (to absorb alcohol) and for added pleasure.

I’ve been to The Rum Bar several times. On my last visit we were two and ordered three dishes to share. They came out in quick succession, which had an impact on our experience.

Our baked wheel of Brie, for example, which we expected to be a warm, oozy cheese fix, had cooled and hardened somewhat by the time we got to it. We loved the flavours with the cheese infused with rosemary, caramelised garlic and white wine and were impressed with the $9 price tag (very reasonable when you consider some pubs charge that, or more, for an ordinary bowl of hot chips).

The crispy calamari (gluten free and $9) was lightly coated in rice flour and fried. It too had cooled off by the time we were able to finish it. A big tick for the zesty citrus aioli, though.

The rolled lamb backstrap ($18) was super… three pieces of goat’s cheese and herb-rolled meat topped with apricot and black plum compote and served with a minted pea puree. It looked lovely on the dark slate plate, but it was a challenge to cut the third piece in half to share.

My recommendation is that The Rum Bar specifies the number of pieces in a serve so customers who are sharing know what to expect.

We didn’t indulge in anything sweet, but thought the orange espresso crème brulee (only $7) sounded delightful.

The Rum Bar has a pianist playing on Wednesdays in the early evening. It’s cozy on the inside although some tables are small meaning managing several shared dishes and drinks is a challenge. Outside are two seating zones – one undercover and one further out closer to the water.

6/2 Trevillian Quay, Kingston Foreshore, call 0477 001399.


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Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson: Food reviewer for Canberra CityNews magazine since 2004, covering stories for true foodies to digest.

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