Restaurants & Bars

Boston Area

Rumba at the new InterContinental -- ick

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Rumba at the new InterContinental -- ick

MC Slim JB | Nov 26, 2006 04:55 PM

I stopped by to look at the menu and space at Miel, the Proven├žale restaurant at this new hotel on the Boston waterfront. Miel's menu looks pretty interesting, though the space is very dull, like a breakfast room in a mid-level business traveler's hotel. Yet another wine list where 90% of the bottles start at $50 or higher: crazy.

The real reason for the post is that Miel wasn't yet open, so we sat down for a cocktail at Rumba, the adjacent rum-themed bar. The short version: really bad vibes. This is easily the ugliest, most mismatched assortment of dissonant design ideas since Strega opened in the North End. It's so hideous that I found it uncomfortable to linger there. Two bored-looking bartenders ignored us for a good ten minutes, at which point I helped myself to a cocktail menu another patron had left behind. They took the hint, finally coming over to take a drink order. This turned out not to be such a good thing.

The cocktail menu features a Papa Hemingway Daiquiri, which I figured would be an exemplary drink in a rum-centric bar. Instead of a bracing cocktail of rum and fresh lime and grapefruit juices with a hint of Maraschino, we got something syrupy and oversweetened with too much Maraschino and probably simple syrup. And it was garnished with a huge, ungainly slice of ruby grapefruit topped with mint, something better suited to a Mai Tai in a Tiki mug than an elegant cocktail glass. Terrible, and $12.

(This place also features a $275 "deluxe" version of a Champagne cocktail made with vintage bubbly, some Napoleon-level Cognac, and a sprinkling of 23K gold flakes. This would be an eye-roller in an attractive bar with great service; here, it's a sick joke.)

We retreated to the bar at No. 9, a place that justifies its high cocktail prices with serious artisanry underpinned by a scholarly immersion in cocktail history. Oh, and great service. That washed Rumba's stench of artlessness and incompetence from our nostrils.

I'll still give Miel a shot at some point, having had a cocktail elsewhere first.

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