490 Crown Street, Surry Hills, Sydney, New South Wales , 2010, Australia
Tel: +61 2 9357 6100
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Tue-Sat 5:30pm-midnight
Door: Go early
Style: Lounge bar
Recommended for: Cocktails
Price guide: Value
Food: Bar snacks
Both the names and some of the concepts at this excellent shochu-led bar, sibling to Toko Japanese restaurant next door and the Paddington sushi bar, might be familiar to London bartenders. Manager Paul Birtwistle and Bar Manager Benito Drovandi have London.
Just up from Darlinghurst, in leafy, well-heeled Surry Hills, this slick, clean wooden space has elegant curving lines subdivided by Japanese silk and silver mesh paneling, and extends far back beyond the muted pavement frontage.
Along the lines of Tony Conigliaro’s Shochu Lounge in London, home-made shochu tonics infuse slowly within a wall. A serious Japanese whisky list includes Nikka Single Cask 1995 and Cask of Yamazaki 1993 (one of only 500 bottles in the world).
Witty twists on the classics include Flips made with ice-cream in lieu of cream; sorbets used instead of home-made syrups (meaning the Bellinis are actually Sgroppinos); and a handful of aged cocktails, inter alia.
This is a very creative bar team. But the drinks are well controlled. A Negroni Swizzle, a cheeky blend of pineapple-infused aged Negroni with Falernum, worked amazingly, as did their blasphemous blended take on the Ramos Gin Fizz.