Rahsia Speakeasy Bar, SS2
Words: Jacob Weber
Photos: Han Sen Hau
If I told you that you could get expertly crafted cocktails, with premium liquor and unique ingredients, in a trendy New York-and-neon-style speakeasy from just RM32 a pop – you’d think I was drunk.
And you’d be right. Because I’ve been drinking expertly crafted cocktails from RM32 a pop. And the 5–9 pm Happy Hour is even better.
Rahsia Speakeasy Bar in SS2
Rahsia Speakeasy Bar is a funky little spot in SS2 – I know, right? – which has all the right ingredients for a good night out, including excellent food (more on that below). They make a point of being unpretentious; Elizabeth, the owner (whose experience includes pastry training in Paris), is firm on the fact that everyone is welcome – and there’s certainly no dress code.
There’s a minimalist, semi-industrial chic to the place, with funky neon lights bouncing off smooth cement and exposed brickwork. A pop-art mural (by local artists) dominates one wall, giant exposed lightbulbs dangle from the ceiling, and some artificial greenery adds a certain cosiness. It’s all very cool (and very Instagrammable). There’s even a small balcony area (with more faux greens and colourful lights, of course).
We park up on a big comfortable stool at the bar and put ourselves in the good hands of Head Mixologist Shehab (formerly of Da Bao) and his sidekick Seelan. Shehab has put his 10 years of F&B experience into Rahsia’s rather unique cocktail menu, which is divided into three categories: light & refreshing, fruity & floral, and floral & bitters.
Several cocktails have a secret ingredient, an in-house alcoholic blend called – wait for it – ‘rahsia’. Shehab won’t tell us what it is – which is good. That’s how secret ingredients work. These guys also infuse their liquor with different ingredients rather than just using syrups and use custom-made ice cubes in their drinks. I repeat: these cocktails start at RM32.
(Oh, and bonus Yum List sustainability points for their use of biodegradable straws – rice straws, not those awful paper ones.)
First up, the Lost in Passion (RM32), featuring 3-hour-assam-infused tequila, a dash of mezcal, and a dried apple garnish that infuses with the white wine (a Chardonnay) and makes for a hell of a bite when you’ve finished the drink. A sprig of rosemary is torched before serving to round off the flavour profile: smoky, salty, bitter, sour, and definitely punchy. A strong start.
The Linghum Sweet Skip (RM38) is Shehab’s signature drink, and you can tell he’s proud of it. This is their best-selling cocktail – coincidence? We take a sip and decide it’s not. Black Tears rum blends well with Campari, passionfruit juice, pineapple juice and lemon juice, with a little sugar syrup; it’s sweet without being sickly and goes down very smoothly. The egg white foam is a perfect consistency, and the dried pineapple garnish is great for scooping up a little foam with a dash of Angostura bitters. Even the edible flower on top is fresh and light.
Curry Me Up (RM35) is one of the quirkier cocktails I’ve had for a while, and I absolutely love it. Curry leaf-infused gin and sweet vermouth are mixed with homemade hay syrup and celery bitters, resulting in a smooth and spicy drink with a really interesting depth to it. (Han Sen says it reminds him of murukku. Who doesn’t love murukku?) That would be unique enough, but the presentation really steals the show. It’s served in a stemless glass which sits on top of another, spherical glass, perching delicately above some dry ice. Very theatrical. There’s a pleasant, almost ritualistic feeling to drinking this – cupping the stemless glass in your hands and gently sipping this concoction is a delicate operation, and it’s rather fun.
Next up, the eponymous house special – the Rahsia (RM38). It tastes as it looks, and it’s absolutely beautiful; the butterfly pea-infused Roku gin with a Fleur de Sureau Sauvage wild elderflower liqueur is fragrant and aromatic, and the sake, orange bitters and roselle sonic add a little kick. It’s a classy operation, right down to the funky stem on the glass.
The Money Maker (RM40) – complete with Monopoly money garnish, of course – is the strongest on the menu. Overproof artisanal plantation rum, Dom Bénédictine, Campari and orange bitters are skilfully mixed and smoked in a bell jar before serving, so you get a little smoky hint hitting the nostrils before the bitter Campari hits, and then the rum swoops in. Powerful stuff. After a couple of these, you might try paying for the third with that Monopoly money.
We finish on a lighter note with a Precious Dew (RM32). It’s crisp and refreshing, with honeydew rum, pomelo shrub (a type of syrup), lime juice, honey syrup and the secret ‘rahsia’, topped with soda.
I’m only still standing after six cocktails because we’ve also been tucking into some seriously good grub since we arrived. Head Chef Fiqri has designed an excellent menu of bar bites and main courses that are great for sharing and perfectly in line with the unpretentious nature of this place.
In fact, you could visit Rahsia and come away satisfied without touching a drink, such is the quality of the food here. Chef Fiqri uses lots of local ingredients and homemade sauces; top marks all round.
The Smoked Duck Pizza (RM39) is highly recommended. It’s thin crust, which is great for a bar snack – no awkward doorstop-sized slices here – and just an excellent choice. How many places do you know doing smoked duck pizza?
One of the signature dishes is the Half-Spring Peri-Peri Chicken (RM33.50), and there’s a lot to love. Juicy and tender chicken is served with a unique house-made ‘Periberry’ sauce, which is a hot pink blend of peri-peri and mixed berries for a sweet and spicy flavour. It comes with ‘sour’ fries, so-called because they are dusted with lime powder – which is a genius touch, giving an extra contrast to the plate.
Another signature dish, the Carbonara with Hotate and Ikura (RM39), also goes down a treat. It’s less creamy (and less heavy) than a typical carbonara, and honestly, all the better for it. Mushroom sauce adds umami, and the hotate (scallops) and ikura are a little touch of luxury.
A farewell shot of shiitake vodka – the first word that comes to mind is ‘fascinating’ – and it’s time to head home.
Rahsia Speakeasy Bar Review
Look, RM32 won’t get you a pint of Tiger in some places these days. The value for money here on the cocktails alone is quite staggering when you consider the ingredients and presentation that go into them.
But ‘affordable’ doesn’t have to mean ‘basic’ – and Rahsia Speakeasy Bar is not basic. The food is excellent, the decor is great, the chairs are comfortable, and the vibes are positive. If you’re in the area, swing by. If you’re not, make a trip.
Reasons to visit Rahsia Speakeasy Bar: Proper craft cocktails at affordable prices; excellent cocktail menu with a wide variety of flavour profiles, special ingredients and signature touches; great bar snacks and main courses that are good for sharing; relaxed, comfortable space suitable for groups or couples.
Rahsia Speakeasy Bar
58A, Jalan SS 2/66, SS 2,
47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Rahsia Speakeasy Bar Opening Hours
Monday-Sunday 5 pm-1 am