Darling Square's food precinct Steam Mill Lane is home to Belles' hot chicken, 8bit burgers and green tea-flavoured everything from Matcha-ya. It's also home to Tokyo-inspired izakaya Bang Bang, dishing out katsu and cocktails with a good dose of karaoke.
Bang Bang brings a bit of Tokyo's gritty Shinjuku district to the shiny recently developed laneway with street food and kitschy dive bar vibes. With ex-Nobu Tokyo chef Kokubo Yuji at the helm, the restaurant offers up Japanese favourites alongside a bar serving whisky, sake and craft beer (including a house brewed lager).
The venue mimics a street-side food vendor you might find in Kabukichō, with a roller door entrance, asphalt floor, lanterns and lots of neon signs. If you'd like to take the concept literally, there is also curtained-off seating in the laneway, next to a yatai stall serving up street eats for dine-in or takeaway.
Inside, the 85-seat space boasts an intricate layout of rooms, with multiple dining areas and a hidden tatami room adorned with traditional mats and cushioned floor seating. There's also a vending machine filled with Japanese soft drinks and — most notably — a soundproof and neon-lit glass karaoke room.
The menu combines elements of authenticity with modern twists. Think wok-tossed spicy edamame, pork gyoza and octopus tempura next to pork katsu brioche sliders and a 'mega tonkatsu'. There's also a full raw bar with the likes of aburi kingfish carpaccio and wagyu beef tataki separated from your usual sushi and sashimi offerings. Plus, on the udon menu sits a teriyaki salmon version next to a non-traditional carbonara one. For the purists, there's plenty of donburi, curries and omelettes to keep you busy.
At the bar, citrus-infused shochu cocktails sit next to whisky and piña colada highballs, all inspired by the alleyway drinking culture of Tokyo. If you come in a group, you can also nab extra-large one-litre cocktails for sharing — served in a butler pump, of course.
Images: Steven Woodburn