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8° & CLOUDY ON WEDNESDAY 19 SEPTEMBER IN MELBOURNE
By Amy Collins
May 16, 2013
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The Understudy

Cocktails the way Alice in Wonderland intended.
By Amy Collins
May 16, 2013
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If you've ever been down the stairs at 1806, you'd have seen the wardrobe. Through the small gap in the golden door you can hear music playing, voices laughing and cocktail shaking. It's very enticing. But that's nothing compared to what you’ll find when you venture inside The Understudy.

Think Alice in Wonderland, the way the caterpillar would have seen it, just that little bit kookier. The Jester and the Hare sit perched, watching your every move, while 'drink me' and 'eat me' signs tempt. They have taken the finely honed cocktail making skills from upstairs and broken some of the rules. It's fun, it's adventurous, and it makes the real world feel a little boring.

When it comes to the cocktails, either choose your own adventure, or for a true experience go for the cocktail degustation (three courses and matched amuse-bouche $70, five courses with matched amuse-bouche $90). You won't find classic cocktails on the menu down here. Expect things like the Hawaii Five-O, a mix of tequila, sherry, tomato, pineapple and coconut matched to tomato and passionfruit salsa with dehydrated pineapple chips.

For something sweet to end on, the Mad as a March Hare is truly wonderful. Inspired by The Mad Hatter's tea party, it's a combination of vodka, tea, lemon, butter and strawberry jam, served with homemade mini banoffee pie infused with Ardbeg 10 Whisky. The menu is constantly changing, so go with an open mind but trust they will make something you've never tried before.

For those who'd rather stick to beer and wine, they have a solid selection available as well as a small back bar of spirits. But if you make it through the wardrobe door, it would be a shame not to sip a unique cocktail creation.

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