Sunday, 9 October 2011

In Der Raum

The windows are dark and the door firmly shut.  If you didn't know it was a bar and you had a booking you wouldn't even know that it was open for business.  The bar is Der Raum in Richmond and it is wonderful.  I went for a pre dinner cocktail last night before heading off to a nearby restaurant.  We had a booking, so pressed the buzzer and waited to be granted entry.

As the door opened we were greeted with a glorious smell - heady and spicy and perfumed.  Real aromas, not manufactured or synthetic.  We were shown to our booth and given a moment to soak up the ambience before being handed a menu.  The menu has two degustation style menus on the front page.  One will take you on a tour through 5 cocktails and the other through about 8!  I don't know whether they are full size or smaller tastes to account for the number you'd be drinking if you decided to take this on.  Individual cocktails can also be had.  Thank goodness!

While we perused the menu (helpfully laid out across two axes sweet/dry and sour/spiced) we were served water in Vegemite jars!  Then a brown glass bottle with dry ice vapour coming out the top.  It had a mouthful of dry vermouth and chamomile vapour in it, provided to cleanse and dry our palates.  One must have a prepared palate.  We placed our orders - I ordered Demetri's Afternoon (high on the sour scale), and my friends ordered Perfume and something with Sake with an-almost-haiku for a name.  It sounded lonely, that's all I can remember.

I immediately wished I'd ordered the Perfume. It had jasmine flowers and jasmine vapour and was obviously one of the reasons the place smelt divine.  I was a little underwhelmed by my choice.

While we waited for our cocktails to be made we were served a "puff" - a delicate, cold concoction of tomato, basil and freeze dried black olive.  We were instructed to put the whole thing in our mouths at one time.  It was a complete mouth experience with everything coming alive and every taste bud standing to attention.

It actually wasn't as pretentious as it sounds. I enjoyed the whole sensory, sensual experience and the service was excellent.

If you're not a member, you do need to book.

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