It seems like a distant memory; Kingston Foreshore used to be an old industrial area and a bit of an eyesore really. Fast forward to January 2014 and, along with trendy apartment buildings, a healthy number of shops and cafes are opening or very close to opening.
Wanting to try out the newest (and, it seems, so did the rest of Kingston - it was rather busy!) bar in town, a group of my food blogging friends and I descended on The Rum Bar on their Piano Bar night. Every Wednesday, live music will be played in the intimate space, on the bar's very own baby grand. Classy, no?
The interior of The Rum Bar is luxe chic - embossed wallpaper, a great wall of mirror-backed bar showing off an impressive collection of rum, dark wooden tables and chairs - yet the wall of glass doors opening out onto the outdoor space gives the space a surprising lightness.
Being a rum bar, the cocktail list does centre around this particular spirit. Always keen for something a bit different, I decided to order the 'Ain't It About Thyme', expecting a sweet syrupy beverage akin to a lemon lime and bitters, but maybe a bit stronger. Well, I didn't expect what tasted essentially like straight rum with a bit of smokiness from the thyme. By the end of the glass, I had sort of warmed up (geddit?) to the idea of this cocktail - but not sure if I would order it again given the other options.
Smarter than I, my fellow barhop Rachi ordered one of the specials. She was kind enough to let me have a sip and the combination of ginger ale and lots of mint meant this little rum-laced drink was sweet and refreshing. Cocktail ordering win to you, Rachi.
You can't go to a bar that specialises in Pintxos and not order food, right? We saw some amazing arancini being devoured by other diners, but decided quickly on the pork belly and reef and beef options.
Served with a sweet chutney, and incredibly crispy skin (my favourite), the pork was the highlight. So delicious, and the serving was perfect as it was quite rich - $14.
The "reef and beef" ($18) was a piece of medium-rare beef, served cold, topped with sea scallop ceviche and accompanied by a delicious pesto. All of the elements worked harmoniously and this almost got my pick for best dish - except I really am a creature of habit and like pork too much!
The Rum Bar is on Trevillian Quay, Kingston Foreshore, almost exactly between Max Brenner and Morks. They don't take bookings - and it's a relatively small venue - so I'd advise getting in early so you aren't disappointed!