Original clandestine event with guest Kamil Foltan at The Red Bar
Ladislav Piljar, manager of The Red Bar (occupying the third floor of Mayfair’s Bam-Bou eatery), is skilled in the blending of both drinks and ideas. He hosts regular Monday night Clandestine events in which a guest mixologist is invited to dictate the cocktail menu for the evening. Tonight’s visitor for this bartending equivalent of a jam-session between two virtuoso musicians is Kamil Foltan, formerly of the award-winning Zetter Townhouse, now head bartender at The Tippling Club in Singapore.
Foltan presents a highly personal and eclectic menu drawing most frequently on his recent experiences in Asia. The Red Bar, sumptuously furnished in the red leather and hardwoods of the French-colonial style, and home to Europe’s largest collection of Japanese whiskeys (Piljar’s pride and joy), is the perfect setting in which to sample it.
At once familiar and cutting edge, and as flavourful as it is refreshingly easy-drinking, Foltan’s Chrysanthemum Gimlet subtly contrasts a classic British gin/citrus base with a floral cordial he created especially (an ingredient that Piljar is itching to use in his own creations). On the inspiration behind it, Foltan spoke of how Chrysanthemum is favoured in coolers drunk by those seeking respite from Malaysia’s baking climate, as well as also discussing the growing popularity of gin in Asia, where tastes have traditionally been for “brown liquors”.
Elsewhere, the Panda Colada trades the pineapple from the standard colada recipe with the syrup of Pandan (the plant used to flavour the scrumptious green cakes beloved by backpackers along Asia’s “banana pancake trail”). Coconut water is used in place of milk or cream to counteract the additional sweetness in this a deep-flavoured, well balanced beverage.
Breaking from the Eastern influence, the Gringos Garden is a shorter concoction featuring tequila with coriander juice, egg white and lime. Served in a saucer glass so as to maximise the aroma presented (that of a fragrant Mexican kitchen-garden), this spicy little number is another demonstration of the bartenders’ expertise.
Particularly with the flavour palette at play in the liquid treats from behind the bar tonight, The Red Bar’s Asian-fusion snacks menu offers some exquisite accompaniments to a tipple. Priced at £15, a Bam-Bou Chia Se sharing platter, comprising three choices from the tapas-style menu accompanied by moreish salted edamame and enormous prawn crackers is extremely good value. With inventive tasty morsels such as Thai Scotch Eggs, Sweet Potato Doughnuts, and tempura Chilli Poppers on offer, the only criticism here is the difficulty you may find in choosing, and the further struggle to pick a favourite from that eventual choice.
Expertly mixed drinks and tasty food in plush surroundings make The Red Bar at Bam-Bou well worth the visit whenever you can get there. For those able to make it to a Clandestine event, the intrigue and intimacy of inspired and inspiring cocktails means that a heady delight of an evening awaits.
To book a table at The Red Bar at Bam-Bou, 1 Percy Street, London, W1T 1DB, call 020 7323 9130 or visit here.
For further information on the Clandestine events at The Red Bar visit here.