December 4, 2015

Preview of Rhum Tiki Bar at Bramhall

Last Tuesday was the much-anticipated tiki party at Bramhall, acting as a preview of Rhum, the new tiki bar from the owners of Bramhall and Nosh. I hope you were able to make it, because it was a blast. Bramhall is the perfect place for a subterranean tiki party on a cold, rainy December night. 

If you couldn't come, no worries, Rhum will be open early next year, which will be the perfect time to cozy up and enjoy some tropical drinks and amazing seafood snacks. 

The party started with a special ladies-only rum tasting for the women of the Portland Spirits Society. Kevin Clarke, the liquor rep, led us through a tasting of four aged Mt. Gay rums: Eclipse, Black Barrel, Extra Old, and 1703. They ran the gamut from smooth and sippable, smoky and Bourbon-like, and spicy and strong. 

My favorite was the Black Barrel, a blend of rums made with a pot and column still and aged in charred Bourbon oak barrels. (If you're into nerdy rum talk, I think this is an interesting review of the rum, getting at the changing trends within the industry.)

We were treated to a preview of the menu during the reception - starting with a great spread of cheese and charcuterie. Next came the Two Island Creek oysters, stacked on a silver sea turtle tower filled with crushed ice, then bites of Mahogany clam ceviche with avocado, tomato, and tortilla chips, resembling guacamole.

My favorite was the hamachi crudo, small spoons filled with squares of fish, daikon radish, and apple and a sesame vinaigrette. The tender pork spare riblets, served over slaw, were a hit, as were the toasts covered with chicken liver pâté and a tamarind shallot chutney.

Once our pre-party was over, the place was packed and the tiki drinks began to flow. I tried a frozen painkiller (rum, coconut, pineapple, nutmeg) that was delicious. Others enjoyed mai tais, jungle birds, and fogcutters, all topped with orchids, plastic monkeys, and other festive tiki decorations. The party surely went late into the night, but after we chatted our friends, we slipped away to enjoy more snacks at nearby Boda.

Many thanks go to the team at Bramhall and Rhum for organizing this event. Rhum is definitely my most-anticipated opening of 2016!