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7° & CLOUDY ON WEDNESDAY 22 AUGUST IN MELBOURNE
By Jo Rittey
July 04, 2018
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Heroes

A multi-level hawker-style barbecue and karaoke joint in the CBD.
By Jo Rittey
July 04, 2018
  shares

Everyone loves a hero. Some people even hold out for one. So when a bar opens with heroes as its namesake, we're, naturally, interested. And when that bar features three levels of karaoke, barbecue and a rooftop bar, we're making a beeline to its front door.

The clever team behind Fancy Hanks and Good Heavens (Kent Bell, Mike Patrick, Daragh Kan and Myles Munro) are the real heroes here, because they know what makes a good party — and party you will as soon as you enter Heroes.

Firstly, you need to find it. Despite it being a very-visible three stories, you have to ride the elevator from Nitro Lab on Bourke Street — up to the drinking and eating level — to get inside. As soon you step out the elevator, senses are assaulted.

Your eyes by a cacophony of colours from the treasures gathered on the owners' 10 -day jaunt around Malaysia. Your ears by music reminiscent of roller skating rinks from Saturday afternoons in the early 80s. Your nose by the smell of the smoky grill. And this is before you put anything in your mouth.

If you like your cocktails to have qualifications, order a Doctor Jones (rum, Melbourne moonshine sweet tea, turmeric and Malaysian sour plum) and the assault on the sense will be complete. It's served in a ceramic Willow Pattern high ball 'glass', too.

Then there's the food. All the cooked offerings come straight off the charcoal grill. Already a firm favourite is the deep fried and barbecued brisket. It's flavoursome — smoky, salty and tender — made pretty with tiny pickled radishes and musky pops of green peppercorn, and served on roast garlic puree.

Offset that with the vegetarian winner, an eggplant swathed with black bean paste, roasted over coals, skewered and topped off with some spring onions. You really can't beat beautifully cooked eggplant and this one good. It's Instagram-ready, too, complete with accompanying emoji.

If you'd like to dial down the heat, at least temporarily, alternate mouthfuls with the cucumber salad — complete with spring onions and ginger vinegar dressing. A fresh and tangy accompaniment.

Once you're ready to move on from the Doctor, look to the fabulous lists of cocktails, alcoholic and non-alcoholic, and local and international wines — all designed to work well with the Asian flavours coming off the grill. For those who prefer beer, lucky you, there are six rotating taps of craft and international beer and more than 20 bottled versions available.

You can also eat and drink in the rooftop garden, one floor up, with its gaudy coloured fibreglass tables

Karaoke is alive and well throughout China, Japan and East Asia and has steadily moved westward to land quite squarely on the floor beneath the bar. You do have to book the karaoke room and you need at least nine friends but that will get you two hours of belting out some Joan Jett and Kings of Leon — if you so desire.

Images: Eugene Hyland

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