PICTURED: The Infatuation from the Bamboo Room in Westlake Village. Photo by Ben Shani
by Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer
30760 Russell Ranch Road, Suite C, Westlake Village
The press release for the Bamboo Room touts this new Westlake Village hot spot as “a true escape” to “mingle with friends” for “a fun night out.”
I’ve no doubt that you’ll have fun here, with or without your buddies. But this is no mere watering hole. This is a refined cocktail lounge of exceptional taste and style, chic and urbane. Sumptuous fabrics in rich colors; benches, sofas and oversized chairs that invite relaxation; a sleek patio with lounges and fire pits; touches of teak and bamboo for international flair. Not just an escape — the Bamboo Room promises posh serenity for pre-dinner drinks . . . or a hip destination for upscale revelry.
Owners Anthony Alaimo (a Michelin Star executive chef) and Jeffrey S. Helfer met a decade ago while both were working in Macau, China. Inspired by both their time in Asia and their world travels, they’ve brought a multicultural touch to their Southern California endeavor. From Mexican spirits to Italian bitters to Southeast Asian spices to fresh fruits found locally, every corner of the globe is touched in some way by the Bamboo Room menu.
The concoctions are every bit as beautiful and thoughtfully designed as the decor.
Naturally there’s a menu of special libations unique to the establishment. Mezcal is all the rage right now, and the Bamboo Room shakes up its homage to the smoky agave spirit with a drink as splendid as a sunrise: the Smoke and Spice, with mezcal, ancho reyes liqueur and a touch of grapefruit. Fans of a French 75 might appreciate the elegant Money Penny, a sparkling number with vodka, citrus, cucumber, fresh lemongrass and champagne. The Amara Sour gets zhuzhed up with Averna Amaro and aquafaba foam — made, interestingly enough, from the liquid found in canned chickpeas, which can be whipped to a frothy consistency. Or how about an Asian twist on the classic gin and lime with the Infatuation, beautiful green in color and flavored with elderflower and Thai basil? This is just the beginning of the rainbow of colors and flavor profiles shaken, stirred, muddled and poured here. And of course, the Bamboo Room staff will also mix up all the standard drinks with care and a touch of artistry.
Leaning more towards the grape than the grain? No problem — the wine list is small but sophisticated, and those craving something really high end will find plenty to tempt them on the reserve list. Napa cabs, Sonoma pinots, blends from Paso Robles — yes, you will find these here. But there are also some wonderful French, Italian and Argentine options to intrigue you. Feeling really indulgent? Opus One is available . . . for $565!
Even the beer selection is upscale. Local standards like MadeWest and Institution are joined by a craft Kölsch from Alameda and a Hawaiian seltzer.
The Bamboo Room is an experience all by itself. But if you’re hungry, pop into 101 North Eatery next door. The cocktail lounge’s sister restaurant is led by Executive Chef Alaimo, with a menu that is equally inspired by different cuisines from around the world. Global fusion in the glass or on the plate . . . that’s fine living indeed!