The Roger Room
Time Out says
Those who have frequented the über-popular Peruvian joint, Chicha, must be familiar with the restaurant's notorious long queue and could well be fed up with it, despite the complimentary pisco sours on offer while you wait. A new option is now available. If you are no longer itching to stand outside on Peel Street, hungry and irritated, then you now have The Roger Room to pop into instead.
The bite-sized bar only seats about 24 and provides an intimate ambience for those in the mood for a relaxing happy hour hangout with a close companion or two. We head over to The Roger Room on a quiet Tuesday evening, but even so, the venue is reasonably packed, with a steady stream of solos and duos dropping by for a quick bite or sip. The bar is influenced by the Jolly Roger, the notorious pirate who wreaked havoc off the shores of Peru, and it has a very pirate ship-like aesthetic. Mini lights twinkle from the ceiling to mimic a star-filled night sky, soft wooden and bamboo furnishings give the bar an ultra-relaxed feel and even the special attention paid to the restroom – well-lit and trimmed with intricate tropical sculptures and accessories – adds overall oomph and bounce to the beverage establishment.
The Roger Room provides an extensive selection of drinks, which includes some of the bar's most popular classic cocktails (passed over from Chicha), a wide selection of fine wines and spirits and other drink delights. While the pisco sour ($75), a house favourite made of pisco, fresh lime, egg white and bitters, remains a popular choice, we lose our hearts to The Girl from Lima ($90), a soothing blend of pisco, fresh lime and tajin spice. The cocktail has a tinge of avocado in the smell and taste – an unexpected but welcome surprise from the deliciously buttery, fleshy fruit. We also enjoy the El Morado ($90), a superb blend of apricot and cinnamon pisco, chichi morada, Cointreau, lime juice and soda. It's refreshing with a slightly nutty and spicy taste that warms the soul. The Chilcano de Anis ($90) is also a standout; the pisco, lime juice, bitters and ginger ale melding well together with the star anis syrup shooting out in the flavours department from the first sip. All the drinks come in hefty portions ensuring a good time with every cup.
We can't help but order some savoury bites to go with our tipples. The Roger Room's food menu comes straight from the kitchen of Chicha (they literally cross the street to deliver it to you) and the oh-my-cod antichucho ($150) is so creamy, so soft-to-the-chew, so freaking good, a second (or third) order is almost a must.
We discover that The Roger Room is a marvellous spot for a relaxing drink or two after work but it's also equally a great place to grab a bite to eat if Chicha's waiting time is too lengthy. The place's devil-may-care attitude, spot-on service and great attention to detail in the menu and décor makes it a great spot to let loose and have a jolly good time. Janice Jann
G/F, 39 Peel St, Central; 2561 3336.