Ek Bar, the Olive Group’s first modern cocktail bar with a distinctly Indian flair, recently collaborated with 28 HongKong Street (28 HKS), a much-lauded establishment from Singapore that has come to be known as one of the cornerstones of the burgeoning bar scene there. Number 25 on the World’s 50 Best Bars list for 2017, 28 HKS takes its cocktails seriously, and serves up beautifully complex, balanced classics or more bespoke creations, all accompanied by bar snacks that are touted as almost legendary.
On 21 and 22 June, co-bar captain Lukas Kaufmann and Sous Chef Richie Tam represented 28 HKS in a take-over of Ek Bar, D 17, Defence Colony, New Delhi for a one-of-its-kind pop-up event. The dynamic team offered Delhiites an exclusive, conceptual cocktail menu, inspired by the “Golden Age” of cocktails i.e. between the 1860s and Prohibition period. This was when bartenders started to develop inventive versions of cocktails based around, and inspired by, their region’s aesthetic and style. This philosophy tied in directly with Ek Bar’s ethos of embracing the new, globally-relevant bar vocabulary while maintaining a unique and playful Indian flourish.
On their maiden Indian collaboration, Co-Bar Captain Lukas said, “This is the first time 28 HongKong Street has ever done a pop up in Delhi with both our bar and kitchen combined. So it is a very exciting opportunity. By bringing five of our cocktails from the current menu and a selection of three dishes from Chef Richie, we are looking forward to introducing the local crowd to the authentic taste and experience of 28 HKS. We are eager to learn, share and make memories with new friends”.
In terms of the cocktail style for the menu they curated for Delhi, they gave an ode to the rich era of hip-hop and divided the menu into four sections according to geographical locations: East Coast, West Coast, Dirty South, Midwest, where each section represented the culture, aesthetics, style, flavours, drinking and culinary traditions from each location.
During this two-day event, the team from 28 HKS served some of their finest signature cocktails paired with their most popular bar snacks. Highlights from this special menu included Hittin’ Switches—dark rum, Campari, passion fruit syrup, lime juice, cold brew coffee, overproof dark rum, Aphrodite bitters and saline solution; 93 ‘Til Infinity—Encanto Pisco Grand and Noble (a Peruvian pisco), lemon juice, pineapple cordial and sparkling wine; Czech The Method—coffee, Jameson Original, Shepherd Neame Double Stout, Becherovka (herbal bitters), and burnt malt syrup; The Real Slim Shandy—Ketel One Vodka, Amaro Nonino (grappa), Marie Bizard Peche Du Verger (a peach-based liquor), lime juice, ginger honey and Hoegaarden; Fernet about Dre—Fernet Branca (a bitter Italian amaro), Bacardi Black Rum, Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao, simple syrup and orange bitters.
Each cocktail featured intriguing garnishes and balanced ingredients that were homemade and were a reflection of the local inspirations that led to their creation. To accompany the cocktail menu were hearty bar nibbles such as Salmon Poke, Mac n Cheese Balls and Chicken Pie Tee etc.
This exciting collaboration is a first in a series of carefully-curated associations that Ek Bar is focusing on throughout the year.