Celebrating National Rum Day at Miss Things

If rum conjures up images of overly sweet slushy drinks at an all-inclusive or a particularly messy night in university, Miss Things and Flor de Caña aims to change that perception. During National Rum Day, the two combined to host a dinner and rum pairing ($65 per person), showcasing the popular spirit in a more refined light. Prices are provided on dishes offered on Miss Thing’s normal menu.

After a day working, the rum punch was a warm welcome and the first hints that Miss Things’ cocktails are something else. Sure the punch incorporated the traditional rum and juice, but the splash of ginger beer added such a great kick of flavour and the mint, when infused into the drink, mellowed it out.  

As the crab toast motoyaki ($8) appeared, its rich creamy seafood aroma preceded the dish. Sitting on a well toasted sourdough crostini was plenty of warm crab meat mixed into a buttery lobster hollandaise. A delicious way to begin the meal and a starter to try if you enjoy lobster rolls.

Chef Jasper Wu’s Pan Asian creations incorporates fresh fruits with a host of other ingredients, to give dishes an interesting twist. Two fruit salads served that evening had varying love-or-hate elements, but were nonetheless different from the generic green salads.

The watermelon salad ($12) takes the fruit and compresses it with a bit of lime. Then comes plethora of flavours with a briny spicy XO sauce, mint, shallots, cotija cheese and deep fried burdock root chips for crunch. Having had something similar before, the fishiness from the XO sauce was a bit too much. Also, I  prefer the watermelon in its natural state, as I found pressing it with the lime juice gave the fruit the soggy texture and slightly off flavour of watermelon that’s been sitting around in a fruit salad for too long.

Meanwhile, the pineapple jicama salad ($12) was a hit, also having a sweet and savoury twist but in a balanced manner. The thin slices of sweet pineapple and crunchy jicama slivers were so refreshing, and you could customize how much of the spicy peanut satay sauce to mix into the fruit. Normally, I’m not a fan of savoury dishes incorporating roasted peanuts, but in this case, it worked with the salad and the crispy rice noodles crowning it.

The intricately put together mosaic of thinly sliced octopus in the carpaccio was beautiful. Having been lightly grilled, it wasn’t raw and retained a light sweetness. Under the seafood were piles of soft beluga lentils and crisp pineapple salsa, both worked nicely with the tender octopus. Around the plate, a shrimp paste vinaigrette and squid ink salt, to add even more of a seafood essence – I scooped up every bit of the condiments.

Our main, an espresso rubbed elk loin, was a swift change from the otherwise tropical dishes previously served. For such a lean cut of meat, I was pleasantly surprised by how tender and juicy it remained. The rich foie gras sauce and chanterelle jus were fantastic, both strong but complimenting flavours. With the crisp asparagus, roasted Jerusalem artichokes and meaty chanterelles, the dish had a French flair and was a satisfying ending.

Throughout the meal, progressively aged shots of Flor de Caña rum were presented. As we moved from the light and fruity 5-year old to the slightly richer 7-year old, the rum’s harshness mellowed out a bit and had a sweeter finish. Then we sampled a “sipping” rum, the 12-year old is meant to be enjoyed plain, although still strong it had a pronounced molasses taste without the sweetness.  

Karen Moodie, ambassador for Flor de Caña, explains what sets this Nicaragua rum apart: aside from the long periods of aging in barrels, they won’t add anything after the barreling period (where natural evaporation occurs) so you’re able to sample the true aged product. Moreover, they are a vertically integrated company owning everything from the sugar cane fields to the bottling facility – they essentially control the quality at every step of production. Due to these factors, their rums have been awarded numerous accolades amongst the World Spirits community.

Still a newbie to the sipping spirits category, the evening was a great palette developing experience. I’ll be honest, even with the sipping rum, the drink still had a kick to it… the finish not unlike what you’d find in scotch and whiskey. But as you taste them side-by-side, the small nuances start to peek through – slightly smoother and the flavours turning richer.  

Sadly, due to an early morning meeting, I wasn’t able to stay for the grand finale: a chocolate banana mousse paired with 18 and 25-year old rums! One can only imagine how nicely the spirits would pair with a sweet dish incorporating the same banana flavours infused into the rums since their leaves line the barrels. Oh well, until next National Rum Day. Thank you Miss Things and Flor de Caña for a delicious development experience!

Overall mark - 7 out of 10
Disclaimer: The above meal was complimentary. Rest assured, as noted in my mission statement, I will always provide an honest opinion.

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 1279 Queen Street West

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  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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