Stow the Coke and enjoy rum the way they do in the Caribbean at Keong Saik’s newest rum lounge
If the last rum you ordered was a housepour doused in Coke, you’re missing out big time. This oft-ignored spirit can be every bit as nuanced and complex as the finest Scotch or Bordeaux. Not convinced? Broaden your horizons and get savvy with fine Caribbean rum at this brand new rum lounge in Keong Saik.
Bago, an extension of the consummate Caribbean Lime House, is very much like the latter in terms of its vibe. The lounge’s cosy rattan furniture, warm lighting and bright colours are an invitation to let your hair down and “lime-out” (that’s Caribbean slang for hang out) with your mates. It’s laid-back and thoroughly unpretentious.
True to its Caribbean heritage, the lounge’s rum menu boasts a bountiful selection of premier rums hailing from Barbados to the Bermudas. Of course, we were absolutely flummoxed at first glance of the menu, so we were more than happy to let Head Bartender, Davide Boncimino, give us an introduction to the world of rum.
Of course, this isn’t your average swig of Sailor Jerry’s or Bacardi; we were served our dram of rum neat, and in a whisky snifter. The first rum, the eight-year-old 1919 from Trinidad & Tobago’s famed Angostura distillery was surprisingly complex – it offered notes of caramel and vanilla, as well as a mild smokiness one would expect from Scotch. If you’re not a fan of overly sweet liquors and you enjoy your whisky, this is an ideal starting point.
The Santa Teresa 1796 came next, offering a more conventional spicy, tropical taste that included hints of tobacco and banana. A dash of water opened up the taste a little and mellowed it down very lightly.
The final rum served was a clear, un-aged Rhum Bielle Blanc from France with a whopping ABV of 59%. It was a tad bit harsh when drunk neat, but a few drops of water opened up flavours of freshly cut sugarcane, juicy fruit and a hint of vanilla. Not something I’d have neat again, but I’d imagine it would add a whole lot of depth to any mojito.
The next best way to savour this Caribbean nectar is the way Lime House’s founder does. The drink, named after Lime House’s founder Chris Morris, evokes the traditional rum shop experience. This simple, refreshing drink pairs Mount Gay Black Barrel rum with homemade cinnamon syrup, and fresh coconut water, served with slivers of coconut flesh. It’s a sweet, refreshing cocktail that’ll transport you to the sun-kissed beaches of the Bahamas.
Bago is all about recreating a proper Caribbean experience, so you can bet your last drop of rum that the lounge offers some tasty bar bites to go with your drink. If you’re unfamiliar with Caribbean food, the dishes often blend sweet and savoury tastes, apparent in dishes like the saheenas with tamarind sauce and grilled prawns with mango chutney.
Lovers of all things Caribbean don’t have very many options to choose from in Singapore when it comes to a traditional Caribbean experience. But, with an establishment as authentic as Bago (and Lime House), we can’t imagine you’ll be left wanting.
Bago at Lime House, level 2, 2 Jiak Chuan Road, Singapore 089260. p. 6222 3130. Open Wed-Sat 6pm-1am. Closed Sun-Tue.