You know what's cooler than being cool? A cooler room bar. Enter Kwan Brothers – the newest sibling to Damian Griffiths' ever-growing empire. Out the front, Kwan Bros is an Asian pop culture mash up with a pumping beat, Asian street food and delicious cocktails, but venture further in and just maybe you'll spot an inconspicuous doorway.
Behind a white cooler room door and through two curtains you'll find a small 20-seater space plus bar with ice carving station. With a solid range of Japanese whiskeys, the only way to try them is on the rock – single rock that is, carved into a diamond-like shape by the bartender himself.
While you're not getting up-to-scratch on your Japanese whiskey knowledge, the main game at Kwan is quick, fresh and flavoursome share plates. Damian Griffiths has once again successfully married the concept of a bar that is a restaurant and a restaurant that is a bar.
The venue tips it's hat back to the history of the building and it's origins as an Asian food factory, Kwan Wo Noodle Factory, that was owned by two brothers. And a fitting tribute it is.
Food wise, the kitchen is centred round a robata grill – making everything fast and fresh. Being a share plate kinda place, good game is to take friends so you can order more. Go for two of the charcoal grilled lamb ribs because we said so. These melt-in-your-mouth morsels with pickled ginger and soy chilli dressing are just the warm up. Follow it with crispy peking duck spring rolls, Mama Kwan's deep-fried eggs of judgement (deep fried eggs with chilli jam, holy wow) and a serve of the chicken or pork belly bao bao (steamed buns).
Still hungry? The pork belly on a bed of pickled watermelon with sweet ginger was a stand out, as was the pineapple fried rice (if not for the carved out pineapple novelty). If you've got space, Kwan's desserts lurk on the wonderful side of weird. Go for the deep fried bao buns filled with toasted sesame, pandan, and palm sugar & ginger ice creams.
Kwan Brothers wouldn't be a true member of the Griffiths Institution of Late-Night Debauchery if it didn't include a menu of fun and fruit cocktails. The Geisha Colada is a hit – think a strawberry take on the original, Kwan's Coco Loco comes in a coconut, and the Missionary's Damnation is for those who like it hot – extra hot.
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