Little Red Pocket
Kanpai to sake cocktails, iPads – and Japas? – at a Little Collins lounge
Whether you prefer your sake shaken, stirred or even sparkling, new Japanese-inspired bar Little Red Pocket has you covered.
Occupying the space left by Balcony Bar, Little Red Pocket has completely transformed the décor into a modern Japanese lounge bar, the likes of which Melbourne has never seen before.
Sure, there are plenty of Asian-inspired bars dotted through the CBD, but if you think of the big names – Golden Monkey, Manchuria, New Gold Mountain – you realise they all have their roots in Chinese culture. And yes, there are the food-focused izakayas and sashimi joints, but none have LRP’s lounge bar feel.
Start with a sparkling sake to whet the palate, accompanied by Murray River-salted edamame beans, Japan’s healthier alternative to beer nuts. Then move on to the sake-based cocktail list created by top mixologist David Van Iersel. It’s all sake or shochu-based, excepting the Mr Miyagi, made with 12-year Japanese whisky.
We loved the Akebono, a complex blend of sake with pineapple juice, citrus-meets-aromatics Licor 43, Suntory Lena banana liqueur, spiced syrup and lemon. We also tip a hat to the Jade Temple, a kind of kiwi sour made with sake, green tea liqueur, umeshu, lime and yuzu.
With all that booze, you’ll want food to soak it up. Luckily, LRB’s ex-Nobu chef has put together tantalising treats on his ‘Japas’ (Japanese tapas) menu. Green tea-cured salmon comes finished in a yuzu dressing, hugging a small seaweed salad. Also a hit are the crispy oysters with wasabi mayo and the wafer-thin beef tataki.
At lunch, the menu will soon be extended to include more substantial choices, served alongside a gourmet tea selection – we wager it will become a popular choice for the local lawyers and investment bankers.
Ordering here is via cutting-edge, table-mounted iPad2s – a homage to the technically advanced Japanese, maybe? The app saves your private profile, clocks favourite drinks for next time and lets you Tweet and Facebook as you go.
And having drinks magically appear at your table without queuing at the bar? Priceless.
Where: 422 Little Collins St, Melbourne
Hours: Tue-Thu 11.30am-midnight, Fri 11.30am-3am, St 8pm-3am
Phone: (03) 9078 2051