Earlier this week, a new venue opened its doors in Cape Town's Short Market St. Outrage of Modesty is new in a number of ways. Aside from that fact that it is less than a week old, it is offering a completely new take on a cocktail bar.
There are many people out there for whom Outrage of Modesty is not suited. If you are fairly conventional, and go out in search of your favourite drink made the way you like it, perhaps give this venue a skip. If you are looking for beer on tap and a burger with fries, keep looking. And pardon my frankness, but if you're on a tight budget, it's best you jog on. However, if you're looking for a new drinking experience and are happy to put yourself in the hands of some talented bartenders, then you've arrived.
|Amuse Bouche - watermelon compressed with sweet
vermouth and rooibos, with added sea salt and wild buchu
Owned by Brad Armitage and the team that brought you the House of Machines (conveniently situated downstairs), they collaborated with celebrated Australian bartender Luke Whearty, known for doing things differently. And Outrage of Modesty certainly fits the bill.
After climbing a dark staircase you are greeted by a host who opens the oriental-style sliding door to let you in, and as you enter, you are inevitably struck by how understated the venue is. Simple, cleanly-designed tables and chairs are neatly arranged under a mural of John F Kennedy and Jackie O, and to say that the bar area is uncluttered is an understatement. Not a single bottle or hint of branding in sight. In fact the back bar looks more like an kitchen-cross-laboratory, with a monastic-looking stone basin, a stove and an assortment of stainless steel pots and pans adorning the counters.
When you consider the name of this bar, I suppose it should come as no surprise that effort has gone into creating an understated decor. "Outrage of modesty" is a criminal offence in Singapore in which a the offender has impinged on the plaintiff's right to modesty. Although most often applied in cases ranging from inappropriate groping to more serious unsolicited sexual advances, it technically covers all instances where someone has had unwanted gaudiness thrust into their personal space. Outrage of Modesty, or OoM for short, is careful to guard against ostentation in all facets of its operation. All but one; their drinks.
OoM's drinks are fascinating. The menu is made from a thick piece of wood with the choices laser-cut into it. There are a number of interesting options, but the first thing you'll notice is that none of them indicate the base spirit. When quizzed about this, head bartender Devin Cross explained that the menu presents an array of flavour preferences, and guests are encouraged to make their selection based on these ingredients rather than the spirit.
|Bee Pollen - A take on the Old
Fashioned; the rye whiskey is
infused with pollen, and Abbot's bitters
is added. Garnished with
dehydrated thyme dipped in dark choc,
and lemon charcoal.
|Icy Hot - a contrast of cold apple and
honey vinegar (shaken) with a
layer of hot foam made of cocomut,
white choc and lavendar.
And if you want a well-known classic that isn't on the menu?
"We'll make it for you," continues Devin, "but we'll put a spin on it that is all our own."
Outrage of Modesty needs to tried at least once. It offers something completely different to other venues in Cape Town, and those who are into exploring the depths of creative mixology will find a home here.