Tag Archives: Bar

The latest from the Bentley boys, Monopole

Taking over the former Sailor’s Thai space, Monopole is right at home in this trendy part of town. Dark, sleek and sexy, Monopole is located just down the road from hospitality heavy weights The Apollo and Gastro Park. The idea, according to Savage and Hildebrandt, was to open a wine bar and eatery where they could experiment with a “more casual concept”.

Monopole has been designed by Melbourne architect Pascal Gomes-McNabb

Monopole has been designed by Melbourne architect Pascal Gomes-McNabb

Monopole isn’t casual – it’s actually quite intimidating. Designed by Melbourne architect Pascal Gomes-McNabb, the dark and moody interior is dominated by a long bar that borders the open kitchen. Perch at the bar and get amongst the action as the bartenders sip, squeeze and shake their liquid concoctions before you. Order a charcuterie platter and watch as the cured meat is freshly sliced right before your eyes.

Salt cod, green peas, mint vinaigrette and pea shoots

Salt cod, green peas, mint vinaigrette and pea shoots

Despite the credentials of its owners and its terribly trendy location, Monopole is surprisingly unpretentious. There’s a liveliness about the restaurant that demands attention. And perhaps, gives the restaurant some leeway when it comes to the overpriced menu. The quality of the produce is all there – from the grilled scampi and roasted suckling pig to the Iggy’s bread and shaved heirloom vegetables –  but quantity, as well as robust flavours, are lacking.  However, the house cured and smoked duck breast and cured venison on the charcuterie platter are exceptional and make a visit to Monopole worth your while.

Anna Lisle

Read more about Monopole here

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Filed under Monopole, Potts Point, Reviews

Bending the restaurant rules… Pawn & Co

Shopping on Chapel Street has been given a new meaning at Pawn & Co, a thrift shop and bar that needs to be seen to be believed. Found high above Chapel Street, this bar may be the only place in the world where everything is for sale. From the furniture down to the glassware, owners Steve Wools and Josh Lefers of Big Dog Creative have proven that everything has a price. At Pawn & Co the interiors are nostalgic for the Prohibition-era, with an old-school wooden bar, velvet booths and tens of books lining the shelves, all ingeniously cut away to make room for a flask – which is for sale, of course.

Take a trip to the Prohibition era at Pawn & Co

Take a trip to the Prohibition era at Pawn & Co

With a room that is as much about the selling as it is the drinking, the menu is based on bites that can travel. Meatballs here are the order of the day, to be eaten separately or made into sliders, but with flavour combinations like Jamaican chicken; pork and apple; and double-bacon cheeseburger, it may be difficult to settle on just one. Just save some room for the ice-cream balls too. Each dish can be paired with a shot suggestion but for a taste of something a little more unusual try the cocktail list, which even features some creations made with absinthe. With regularly scheduled auctions organised to sell their wares, Pawn & Co offers the perfect escape from reality – just don’t let the green fairy do the bidding for you.

Aphrodite Vlahos

Read more about Pawn & Co here

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Filed under Pawn & Co, Reviews, South Yarra

Can’t get enough of Darlinghurst’s new izakaya restaurant… Kaya

The smell wafts out onto Oxford Street and hits us before we even enter the front door. If I hadn’t already booked a table at Kaya, I would have ditched my original plans and made a reservation here. “It’s the robata,” explains Tim Lackey, Kaya’s energetic co-owner who greets us at the door, “It’s seriously amazing.” Suddenly, we’re ravenous.

Moody and atmosphere, Kaya is perfect for first dates

Moody and atmospheric, Kaya is a perfect first date restaurant

Once home to the darling of Darlinghurst, Rambutan, Kaya’s interior has been designed by the visionary team, Splinter Society. Kaya’s dining room draws inspiration from traditional Japanese izakaya bars, whilst utilising Australian materials such as cypress pine from the Dandenong Ranges to create a dynamic space that incorporates high and low-tech features from sound-proof walls to manga graffiti.

Straying away from your standard sushi and sashimi Japanese offering, the menu at Kaya stays true to the traditional notion of “izakaya” dining —that is, a series of small dishes designed to share while you drink. With the seductive smell wafting around the restaurant, robata dishes are our main priority… that is, until we see the venison tataki and sashimi don on the table next to us. We start with the rice wine and seaweed cured kingfish and ocean trout, sweet shell-grilled scallops doused in a zingy citrus ponzu and miso eggplant.

We recommend you start with this rice wine and seaweed cured kingfish and ocean trout

Start with this rice wine and seaweed cured kingfish and ocean trout

Being don-devotees, we can’t resist ordering both the sashimi and chicken yakitori options. At that point, the shell grilled scallops and venison were competing for the title as ‘favourite dish’. That was until the (take a deep breath for this) 600 gram, 24 hour slow cooked, glazed wagyu rib arrived in front of us. The race was over, a winner was declared.

“It’s a Friday night – of course you’ve got to have a cocktail!” I have to admit, it doesn’t take long for my efficient waiter to convince me to order the green appletini and as soon as I take a sip of smooth combination of freshly squeezed Granny Smith apple, vodka, lime and sugar, I’m in a picture of satisfaction.

From the moment we smelled the robata grill to that first mouthful of venison tataki – we were hooked. There isn’t much that falls short of amazing at Kaya.

Anna Lisle

Read more about Kaya here

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Filed under Darlinghurst, Kaya, Reviews, Uncategorized

South Yarra’s effortlessly chic Speakeasy Kitchen & Bar

Blink and you’ll miss the entrance to this new concept restaurant and bar on South Yarra’s Chapel StreetOwned and run by brothers Petros and Alexis Lambis, Speakeasy Kitchen & Bar is a one stop shop for all your wining and dining desires.

Perfect on a sunny Melbourne day, the outdoor area is ideal for a drink and casual meal

Slip through the Speakeasy shopfront and a deceptively large space is revealed. Modern and sophisticated, the design by Eon Architects features smart wood paneling, clean-cut Nordic furniture, an open kitchen and cascading wire chandeliers that soften the edge. Upstairs, the elegant private dining area provides seating for up to 40 and is the ideal space for a special gathering. However, for those not interested in formalities, a large courtyard outback offers alfresco nibbling on large communal tables and an area to enjoy a boutique beer or two. This rear patio (and obviously the restaurant’s name) takes inspiration from the 1920’s prohibition era speakeasy bars – featuring ‘secret’ laneways covered in graffiti art by local artists. The New-York inspired images that bedeck the buildings perimeter are by Paul Round of Urban Enhancement, whose character filled designs boast as much flair as the bartenders themselves. In the speakeasy theme, weekend barbeques draw quite the crowd, and with plans to feature live music throughout the summer, Petros and Alexis are sure to have their hands busy.

It’s rare to find a place that you can enjoy a drink and meal the night before, and happily head back the next morning for breakfast and this is what Speakeasy is all about. Whether you’re looking for a coffee and croissant, a beer and burger on a Sunday arvo, or a three-course meal of French Bistro classics, Speakeasy has it all.

The brother duo have done something rather novel and wonderful at this little gem of a restaurant on Chapel Street.

Anna Lisle

Speakeasy Kitchen Bar on Urbanspoon

Read more about Speakeasy Kitchen & Bar here

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Filed under Reviews, South Yarra, Speakeasy Kitchen & Bar