Speakeasies and pop-ups are no longer a NYC specialty; they're an exciting idea (and a very good marketing ploy) that plays on our generation's biggest fear – the fear of missing out. And I'm here to tell you that you should probably check this pop-up out unless you're okay with not ever setting foot in a K Road speakeasy above a strip joint.
Near the end of the alley next to the newly refurbished Las Vegas nightclub is a bright red door that leads to some questionably dingy stairs in classic K Road fashion. However, after wading through a bead curtain awaits a very pleasant surprise – a spacious yet cosy establishment that mildly resembles the multi-level restaurant/bar Seamstress in good ol' hippity Melbourne.
The menu is small yet sufficient; it provides enough variety in flavours to thoroughly satisfy your taste buds and its pricetag will give your wallet a sigh of relief. A glance at this menu and you'll realise you clearly need to order most of the dishes and definitely all three boast-worthy cocktails that come in funky bubble-tea cups.
PSA: The Wong Island Chai Tea with Stolen spiced rum, house made chai syrup, crème de cacao, malteasers and tapioca balls ($12) was the absolute tits. However, if you're not into sweet dessert-like drinks, go for the fruity WTL (What the Luck) with Jose Cuervo, berry liqueur, lime juice and ginger beer ($12); or the refreshing option of Gin Ping Pong with Tanqueray gin, house made kaffir syrup, melon liqueur and citrus topped with Chi ($12).
For starters, the pickled cucumber with chinkiang vinegar, coconut cream and fresh chilli ($12) and the celery and kale tiger salad with pumpkin seeds, mint and basil ($12) will give you your day's helping of greens – alleviating the binge-guilt from the cocktails and allowing you to be gluttonous with the dumplings to come.
8 for $10 or 18 for $20, the prawn dumplings with lotus roots and oct vinegar is worth every penny. What else is good you ask? The Crispy Pork Bao ($6) – the "lucky sauce", cucumber and spring onion united with that ultra crunchy pork crackling…it really is a memorable Chinese cuisine moment. Add a slow cooked duck leg served with cucumber, carrots and spring onion ($25) and I'm flaunting some sexy pot-belly swagger from an indulgent night of gourmandizing.
You'll be feeling lucky (lucky)… but too full to get lucky, if you know what I mean.