Moonrock in Tainan – Escape Earth’s Surface for a Moonlit Retreat
Moonrock is tucked away in a quiet residential neighbourhood, marked by a traditional dark red iron door that blends seamlessly with its surroundings. The luminous logo adorning the entrance is your clue to this hidden gem. As you step inside, a world of elegance unfolds before you, accessed through a corridor lined with rustic red brick walls. Moonrock already has its well deserved place on Asia’s 50 Best Bars list.
This unassuming entrance leads you to Moonrock, where the interior exudes the charm of a Taiwanese tea house. Dark wood panelling, neutral walls, and an abundance of greenery create a soothing atmosphere. Despite being housed in an older structure, Moonrock manages to seamlessly blend modern and fashionable elements, making it a unique and welcoming space.
It boasts two inviting floors, each adorned with a well-stocked bar, comfy sofas, and an array of seating options to cater to all its patrons. The ambiance is cozy, with warm lighting that instantly makes you feel at ease, and the welcoming bartenders only enhance the experience. While it’s advisable to make a reservation, I’ve found that my habit of arriving early and visiting solo ensures there’s always a spot available. What sets Moonrock apart is its choice of bar chairs, which aren’t the high, typical variety – a feature I absolutely adore. This subtle difference adds an extra layer of comfort and relaxation to the entire bar experience.
Moonrock’s drinks still linger on my taste buds, leaving a lasting impression. They exude elegance and perfect balance. This bar encapsulates Taiwan’s bartending culture, crafting exquisite Taiwanese cocktails.
The owner has a unique collection of in-house made spirits (We know what they have in their lab!) and employs contemporary cocktail techniques to bring out the best flavors of the local fruits and herbs. The atmosphere in this bar is wonderfully jovial and the service is impeccable. I couldn’t help but notice the availability of water service at every bar I visited. If I were a resident of Tainan, I would undoubtedly become a regular at this establishment.
Here’s a fun anecdote that highlights the bar’s quality: While I was sipping my cocktails and observed the drink preparations, a new guest took a seat at the bar counter. It turned out to be the same gentleman I was sitting next to at Kohaku the day before. As I mentioned earlier, I had already identified him as a cocktail connoisseur, and this chance encounter further proved it. We exchanged smiles. He, as it turns out, is a talented photo artist from Hong Kong and even recommended a fantastic bar in Kaohsiung, which I’ll share more about later. These unexpected connections with passionate and interesting people are what enrich and make my bar adventures truly memorable.
Now, back to the menu. Moonrocks offers 12 signature cocktails and 12 classic options. The food menu features an array of European classics, from Italian charcuterie to French escargots smothered in flavourful garlic butter.
The first drink that immediately piqued my interest, with its intriguing combination of almond spirit, fig leaves, and a blend of kalon tea, lime, and chrysanthemum, was the Kite. I’d already encountered the use of liquid nitrogen at Bar Home, and you know what they say – once you notice something, it seems to appear everywhere. In this case, the liquid nitrogen worked its magic, transforming the fig leaf mixture into a luscious ice cream, imparting a velvety texture and mouthfeel to the drink. The temperature was spot on, the flavour was elegant and refined, and the overall drink experience could best be described as simply irresistible. What an incredible cocktail. My second choice was the Float Dream, featuring Genmaicha spirit, yuzu, bitter melon, and guava as the main characters of this composition. Every drink here comes with a delightful extra touch. In this case, the drink was garnished with a drizzle of olive oil, and I was given a pair of tweezers to pluck the sea grape perched on a generously hand-carved ice cube. Those tiny sea grape pearls burst in my mouth, creating a perfect complement to the drink. Once again, it was an extraordinary experience, delivering an unforgettable mouthfeel.
When I requested another drink, the bartender suggested the Skillability. Now, I’ve had my reservations about smoked cocktails in the past, as they’re often done poorly and leave you with nothing more than a bitter, smoky aftertaste. But trust your bartender at this place and you won’t be disappointed. What I received was an elevated version of a classic Godfather cocktail, featuring a mix of whisky, osmanthus, Disaronno, Hinoki, Vermouth Rosso and Amaro. The libation was then skillfully smoked with whisky barrel wood chips, resulting in a remarkable and delectable drink. For my final drink recommendation, with a particular focus on texture, the owner himself crafted a unique concoction, drawing from the previous cocktail menu. Modern techniques, an innovative concept and a fresh interpretation of classic bartending principles, all delivered with warm and gracious hospitality – that’s my ultimate takeaway from this unforgettable night.
If some wonder about the bar’s name. The name MOONROCK is a fusion of two meaningful components. “MOON” signifies the venue’s unique nature as a nighttime destination, where the moonlight serves as its enchanting illumination. The moon itself holds a touch of mystery and is a universal symbol of romance. On the other hand, “ROCK” reflects the owner’s deep passion for rock music, elegantly intertwining these two words to create the name. When it comes to fantastic bars in Tainan it’s impossible to cover them all in just three days and nights but I am happy that I visited this great bar.