I don't know much about Tikis. I'm a bit ignorant of them in fact. I haven't yet graced Hawaii's shores and the only thing I know about them is that Greg Brady once wore a Tiki pendant and almost drowned as it gave him bad luck. As Greg was my favourite Brady along with Marcia that caused me great distress.
Tonight my husband and I are attending a Tiki party at Rambutan, an Oxford Street bar much more tastefully decorated than you'd think (I think they even have Florence Broadhurst wallpaper) and lights that I am just itching to climb up and unhinge from the ceiling and take home with me (the fact that they're huge would put an end to that).
Tonight there are 6 bartenders competing to make the best cocktail using Appleton Estate Rum, a premium brand of rum that rum aficionados flock to (I'll admit, I'm wholly underqualified for that title). Originally named Wray & Nephew, it was the first rum used by Tiki aficionados Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic and was used it in their classic Tiki cocktails. These are ones that you've probably had quite a few of: the Mai-Tai and the Hurricane. We get to top up our Marcus Pizzuti designed Maile Ku mugs with delicious cocktails above. Maile is a traditional Hawaiian leaf used in royal and wedding leis and Ku is a god that was both a warrior and protector. Just in case you were asking.
The rum itself has been made since 1749 (yes really) and the Jamaican Estate is headed up by the world's first female master blender/distiller Joy Spence.
Downstairs is where the competition is taking place with bartenders from Rambutan, The Beresford, The Colada Cub, The Rum Diaries and The Victoria Room. Judging are rum afficiandos and the Tania the editor of the fantastic Taste.com.au website.
The bartenders and placings were:
Ryan Gardam from Rambutan (3rd place)
David Beattie from The Beresford (1st place)
Nick Braun from The Beresford
Nick Van Tiel from The Colada Club (2nd place)
Hugh Payten Smith from The Rum Diaries
Ryan Coleiro from Victoria Room
Fabulous lamp-me wanty! Stuffing this under your sarong isn't recommended though.
The finger food is what has me interested though and clutching my Tiki themed totem pole sized mug I balance the delicious morsels heading my way and a variety of cocktails. There are piping hot and fluffy curry puffs, dim sims with a delicious sweet sauce, lettuce cups with larb (chicken salad), betel leaf roll ups and my favourite little rectangles of the most perfect salted pork belly with a delicious crackling crust.
Crispy skinned pork belly
If this is Tiki culture, sign me up.
96 Oxford St, Darlinghurst
Tel: +61 (02) 9360 7772
Open: 7 days 6pm to late.