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By Heather• 25 Sep 2017
You can expect…. a hip Asian lounge bar with décor by Sydney-based Shelly Indyk, and food by Wylie Dean.
There’s a lot of red, a lot of bamboo, myriads of good luck cats, and a vibe not dissimilar to Dragonfly. Albeit this is a bar doing tasty bites, rather than a restaurant with a bar out back.
Chef Wylie has worked around a lot of Asia as well as Wellington, so is well versed in Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean and Thai flavours. And is a proponent of authenticity rather than fusion, so a Japanese dish will remain Japanese, and not be morphed into something else. Hallelujah.
We ingested…. scorched edamame with tom yum butter, tea smoked duck bao, spicy tuna poke, karaage chicken burgers (sliders), and because they’re all bite sized, a dessert each as well – Yakult rice pud with cherry and pokky, and Pandan pannacotta with chocolate brandy snap.
All the dishes had light but crisp flavours and textures, and we found ourselves thoroughly enjoying every bite. The components of each were excellent (tender tuna in the poke, bao buns soft but slightly tacky, the edamame smokey), and the flavour combinations were also well balanced (sweet and sour, smoky and salty, etc). And despite being small bites, we felt like we were getting a full experience.
The drinks…. range from many kinds of Japanese sake and whisky, to Garage Project Hatsukoi neo Tokyo lager, to pretty cocktails of tequila and aloe vera, to Mumm champagne, and more. All with a lightness that compliments the fare on offer (yes I did sample them all, and no I didn’t do it all on one night!).
The service…. was warm and welcoming, with quite a few staff present on both visits, so we were very well looked after and didn’t want for anything.
What tickled me most…. were the number of lucky cats around the bar. I gave up counting at 53, but with that number Hot Sauce should be quids in.
And what I’m eyeing up for next time.… are the shanghai pork pot stickers, the sweet and sour beef short ribs (one of the handful of larger share plates), and the Gangam Shiso style chilli infused vodka cocktail. Mmmmm.
Lunch and dinner 7 days.