Everyone who is anyone has been talking about the indulgent degustation offered at Melbourne's newest fine-dining (make that borderline fantasy) restaurant, Lume.
The rhubarb-filled cow’s udders, the cauliflower cream disguised as a round of brie cheese and, of course, the giant dessert filled cacao pods. So we thought we'd see what cocktail creativity Lume is displaying in its fabulous bar (which has a fabulous à la carte menu to match).
"We share our workspaces at the restaurant, the bar is literally in the kitchen. We work together, prep together, taste, cook and discuss collectively," says Nick Tesar, formerly of the legendary Gin Palace. "It allows for great cohesion of ideas."
The cocktail menu offers the essential classics, but when it comes to getting inventive, we asked Nick if there was any kind of method or theme to the madness of cocktail creation at Lume.
"It all has to tie in very closely with the menu offering. Our chefs work really closely with our growers, keeping everything fresh and seasonal," he says.
"Shrubs, lacto ferments, barrel-ageing, rotary evaporations are just tools for creative expression and flavour enhancement, but ultimately, it all comes down to the quality of the ingredients and how that translates in the glass."
And if you venture into the kitchen, you’ll see a Four Pillars barrel atop the shelf, ageing something a little special in its belly.
“We do a barrel-aged Hanky Panky,” says Nick, assuring us that it is 100% wonderful (not that we needed convincing).
“We fill it with gin, local produce, Maidenii Sweet Vermouth, Dubonnet Rouge, Tempus Fugit Fernet and orange and aromatic bitters. “
His personal favourite drink?
"The 'One Tepache, Two Tepache'. It's a semi-fermented pineapple and clove drink, originating in Mexico. Ours is fortified with Del Maguey Vida Mescal and Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao.”
As for inspiration, Nick of course names the Gin Palace along with Sydney’s Bulletin Place as testaments to their craft in Australia.
And lastly, we had to ask about the tattoo rumour.
"Yes, some of our die-hard staff - myself excluded - have Lume circumflex tattoos. The owner/chefs, along with a couple very committed others."
Now that’s dedication.
You can visit the wonders of Lume yourself on Coventry Street in South Melbourne.