Grill house Bar-Roque Grill in Amara Hotel along Tanjong Pagar Road has always been well-regarded for their excellent grilled meats, but that stellar reputation may soon be upstaged by the delicious infused rums from its connected bar concept, Bar-Roque Bar.
Bar-Roque Grill recently underwent a makeover, converting the adjoining outdoor space next to the restaurant into an alfresco bar. But rather than putting on the ubiquitous commercial beers and familiar wines, the focus of the new bar is a collection of different infused rums created by Bar-Roque chef Stephane Istel. The Alsace native had spent a number of years working in the Caribbean and had indoctrinated himself into the rum-drinking practices of the natives in that region, learning from them the art of infusing rums with different ingredients to build different flavour profiles.
When Chef Istel started Bar-Roque Grill, he continued to indulge in the hobby of infusing rums by offering his creations to restaurant regulars and friends; to his surprise they were so well-received that he was soon inundated with requests to purchase the glass jars of rum that were infused with different herbs, spices and fruits. Soon the kitchen counter at Bar-Roque Grill was overwhelmed by big glass jars of rums, each tagged with customers’ names. It also gave him the idea of opening up Bar-Roque Bar.
For the launch of Bar-Roque Bar, Chef Istel has introduced an initial selection of 6 different infusions based on French-style Martinique rums. The Sing, for example, is a spicy concoction that sees pineapple, red chilli and vanilla infused into white rum; The Thai gets a mango, Buddha’s hand lemon and lemon grass treatment; The Caribbean combines coconut, banana and vanilla for a fruity sweet explosion.
Then there’s The Frenchie – a hat-tip to Chef Istel’s Alsatian roots – with an infusion of strawberries, apple, vanilla and cinnamon; The Shanghai, in true Empress Yang Guifei fashion puts together her favourite fruit lychee with mint and vanilla; while The Aussie mixes peach and vanilla with the white rum base. Each shot of the infused rum costs $7++; a tall drink comes at $12 per glass.
Chef Istel says rum infusions are easy to do at home; all that requires is a decent understanding of what kind of ingredients would work together. “You can use dark rum as well, those taste better but can get expensive,” he shares.
The bar also throws together a range of cocktails – at $20++ each – that features the infused rums. These include the likes of Lychee Sour (“The Shanghai” rum, lime, pineapple and cranberry juices), the Banana Punch (“The Caribbean” rum, orange juice, white chocolate and milk), as well as the Pineapple Fizz (“The Sing” rum, strawberry syrup, Prosecco).
For those feeling the nibbles, Chef Istel has introduced bar bites built around the tarte flambé with various toppings, paying homage to the regional signature specialty of Alsace. Of particular note is the The Classy adorned with simple bacon and onion; there’s also The Sneaky (above), which builds on the bacon and onion of the The Classy with the addition of escargot, but the winning tarte flambé goes to non-savoury The Sweet, the thin crust tart generously lashed with banana and house-made hazelnut spread.
From 11 May, Bar-Roque Bar will introduce the ‘Women Get It All’ Ladies’ Night, where ladies get to enjoy free flow of infused rum cocktails from 7pm to 9pm.