Reka:Bar's new Spotlight cocktail menu brings Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat to the fore

Pistapple Passion and Olive, the 'Salt' drink and dish in Reka's Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat menu. — Photos: MICHAEL CHEANG/The Star

Founded in 2021 and located at Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur, Reka:Bar, has garnered a reputation as one of KL's most innovative bars, and made its debut at No. 65 on Asia’s 50 Best Bars’ 51-100 list last year.

Reka:Bar’s latest Spotlight menu is called Salt, Fat, Acid Heat, inspired by the Netflix show of the same name. The menu comprises four drinks and four food dishes, one each per element, and is designed in a way that you can mix and match the different drink and food combinations (ie: Salt drink with Fat dish, and so on).

The Salt drink is called Pistapple Passion, made with pistachio distillate and Calvados, clarified coconut, lime, and garnished with a pistachio yogurt spread crisp.

On its own, it’s a pretty tasty tipple, that pistachio/calvados combo working together for a nutty apple base that is balanced with that hint of citrus from the lime beside a refreshing coconut note.

Although we were advised to try not to pair food and drinks from the same elements for best results, I found that the sweeter nature of the Pistapple Passion went really well with the refreshing and salty-sweet notes of the Salt dish, a dessert made with Olive Ice Cream, Olive Tille, Olive Brine Foam, Olive Oil, and Adzuki Beans, and aptly named Olive.

The 'Fat' drink, Come To The Duck Side, is a twist on the classic BoulevardierThe 'Fat' drink, Come To The Duck Side, is a twist on the classic Boulevardier

Fat is represented by Come To The Duck Side, a twist on the classic Boulevardier using Michter’s Bourbon, Campari, Mancino Vermouth blend, duck fat, and black truffle oil.

The richness of the duck fat is a decent foil for the bitter sweetness of the Boulevardier spirits, though it’s not so easy to pair with the dishes. The one it went best with, however, was the Acid one, Seafood Yuzu Cappellini, a cool, citrusy noodle dish with a nice acidity that added a little bit more zing to the drink, while also lightening the duck fat and truffle oil.

The Pet Nat drink is the one that pairs with most of the food in Reka's new Spotlight menu.The Pet Nat drink is the one that pairs with most of the food in Reka's new Spotlight menu.

The Acid drink, Pet Nat, however, was the complete opposite – it was the drink that didn’t pair well with its Acid counterpart, but gelled superbly with the rest of the dishes.

Made with Hendrick’s Gin, blue pea flower, pear grappa, Tio Pepe sherry, apple-lemon cordial, and pandan grape kombucha, the initial sourness of the drink serves to activate your tastebuds perfectly, while also acting as a great palate cleanser in between drinks or dishes.

The light refreshing citrusy and sour notes also help to cut through the heaviness in some of the dishes, especially the Fat dish, Collar Me Black, which is a marinated lamb collar with burnt eggplant puree, and roasted potatoes.

The 'Heat' drink and dish – Campfire Memories, and the Open-Face Halloumi Sandwich.The 'Heat' drink and dish – Campfire Memories, and the Open-Face Halloumi Sandwich.

Last but not least, is the Heat drink, Campfire Memories, made with Matusalem Gran Reserva 15 rum, Togarashi Oloroso sherry, miso rhubarb, soy milk cold brew coffee, with a S’mores foam.

The Togarashi spices gave the drink an interesting tingling spiciness, and the rhubarb added a little herbaceousness, but not enough to mask the coffee/rum goodness of the overall drink.

This was another one that went with its counterpart, the Heat dish, which was an Open-Face Halloumi Sandwich (Halloumi, Ciabatta, Sambal Matah, Green Apples Salsa, Sauteed Mushrooms), with the hint of spice from the drink gelling quite neatly with the sambal in the sandwich.

All in all, if you’re looking for an interesting night out pairing food and drinks, then Reka’s new Spotlight menu is definitely for you.

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