While I was in Melbourne on the weekend I was lucky enough to have my in-laws in town and available to babysit my 15 month old son – a perfect excuse for a date night with my hubby. We decided to head out close to where we were staying in St Kilda, and had originally planned to head out for pre-dinner drinks before going to the restaurant we had been recommended. We stumbled across Laika, a small cocktail bar on Fitzroy St, and decided to start the night there with pre-dinner drinks.
As I walked into the long narrow bar, I immediately fell in love with the place. Dimly lit, with champagne bottles lined up along the bar and the booths, a wall feature “POSTILLON” each letter painted comprising of a beverage, champagne corks on the wall, a grand piano set up in the front of the bar. They described it as a “1930s European style bar”, with barmen wearing old fedora hats and vests, it reminded me more of the small bars I’ve been to in Buenos Aires (old European style bar with an underground cool).
The drinks menu at Laika offered traditional cocktails “the forgotten classics” as they call it, from Mojitos to Whisky Sours, the bar tenders handcrafted each cocktail beautifully like a work of art.
I ordered one of my regular favourites, a lychee martini – beautifully refreshing, served with three juicy lychees on a stick ($18).
My husband ordered a Whisky Sour, whisky, lemon juice, sugar, shaken and served over ice, garnished with half an orange slice and a maraschino cherry ($18).
As our first cocktails were being made, two musicians arrived, a pianist and a saxophonist, who took a few minutes to set themselves up. The pianist had a synthethiser and a laptop set up on the grandpiano, we were very curious what he was doing.
A few minutes later they started their jazz set.. starting with old Nat King Cole & Frank Sinatra classics. By then it was clear why the pianist took a while to set himself up – he combined the synthethiser and laptop to set up his base and drums (very clever!) He started the set playing Frank Sinatra’s ‘Witchcraft’.. I was enchanted! 😉 How I love the sound of the saxophone!
After the first song we were hooked and decided to forget our dinner reservation and stay on at Laika to enjoy the jazz performance.
We ordered a few tapas, starting with Stuffed mushrooms, with sweet potato puree served with blue cheese ($14). These were beautiful creamy bites, with strong flavours of the blue cheese – strong but not overpowering.
Chorizo bombas, potato wrapped chorizo, crumbed, fried and served with spicy mayo ($13). The chorizo with the spicy mayo definitely giving it a bit of bite!
Calamari, crispy bitesize pieces of polenta crusted calamari served with rocket ($17).
Grilled Haloumi, served with a side of salad and lemon ($13).
We ordered some lovely Spanish Tempranillo wine to accompany our tapas and enjoyed the beautiful jazz music..
They continued with more classic jazz and moved on to more contemporary jazz.. playing everything from George Benson to a jazzed up version of the Doors “Light my Fire”.
What a perfect night, I didn’t want to leave the place – great cocktails, good food & beautiful jazz.. and a perfect date of course! 😉 I’ll definitely be coming back here next time I’m in Melbourne.
Laika, 9 Fitzroy St, St Kilda Victoria