How I ended up at this ooohhhh–soooooo cool bar and eatery in Melbourne I’m not so sure. But so glad I did. A Japanese fashion student sales assistant recommended it to me as a hidden speakeasy-style terrace serving some of the city’s best cocktails and Cantonese food. The 113 Lonsdale St facade really looks like a seamstress’s and the uninitiated may probably walk past without realising the seductive world that lies behind.
The night began in the basement at its Sweatshop bar where bartender Andrew from Ireland knocked up a delicious citrus infusion garnished with apricots mascerated in brandy liqueur. Finally a cocktail with complexities and subtleties not just a whack of sugar and alcohol. A brown paper bag of prawn crackers the perfect accompaniment.
Then it was up the wooden steps to the 3rd floor for dinner in a simple narrow dining space. We shared some green onion duck pancakes, slow cooked glazed lamb shanks with eggplant puree and steamed blue-eyed cod with chili and lime. The dishes were rich with flavour but we were kept waiting for our mains (the place was unusually packed for a Tuesday night) and the service was abrupt and harried. But when we stepped out onto the street into a cold Melbourne night I realised that I’d been wrapped up in a warm spicy cocoon that I can’t wait to return to.