“I’m going to bar launch,” I posted on Facebook, en route to Zhou Zhou. “I’m going to a bar launch, bar launch, bar launch. / Let’s start a nuclear war…at the bar launch, bar launch, bar launch.” (That’s to the tune of Electric Six’s iconic song, “Gay Bar,” by the by. Just substitute the title of the song for ‘bar launch’.)
I was THAT excited about checking out the brand-new endeavour, upstairs from David Zhou’s Oriental Teahouse.
Since I’m a decided Northsider, it had to be a good reason to drag me south of the Yarra. The lure of cocktails and a new venue was just the siren call I needed to lure me to Chapel Street last Thursday night. I was incredibly glad that I’d put on my highest of high heels to mingle with the South Yarra crowd. I mean, c’mon. One of the Real Housewives of Melbourne was there. (Granted, I only know that because of looking through the photos afterwards…)
The crowd was an eclectic mix: everyone from 60-something couples — likely long-time patrons of the restaurant — to uber-tanned, midriff-baring, elaborately-coiffed blondes. Writers, foodies,and those in the biz were all in force. I ended up mingling with the JetStar Magazine team, a freelance drinks writer for Broadsheet, and Christopher from Eat & Drink, who’s always a blast to run into.
The well-heeled attendees chomped down on the food offerings: dim sums, Japanese pancakes, dumplings. To wash down all the food: wine and bubbles, alongside an offering of some of the imported Asian beers that Zhou Zhou is proud to carry. Want to grab a Yo-Ho Tokyo Black Porter? This is the place to come. I delved into the cocktails on offer. The West Winds Gin-based ‘Mekong Hijinks’ almost converted me to lychee (must’ve been all the hibiscus tea); but the standout was ‘Hello Vera’, a tall glass of gin, mint, peach, and — the twist — aloe vera. It was the standout hit of the night, with every other person with one in their hands.
Towards the end of the night — yes, your humble correspondent made it that far — we were offered decadent sesame-encrusted dumplings drizzled with chocolate sauce. I must say, it’s nice having an Asian spin on the usual bar snacks. You might want to give Zhou Zhou a visit the next time you find yourself on Chapel Street.