Hidden away on an upstairs level on Gouger Street is the ever-so-classy Loft Oyster and Wine Bar where a sanctuary of elegance awaits.
Last Thursday evening, we were lucky enough to be one of the few guests invited to indulge in the stylish bar’s new, Autumn inspired cocktail menu along with some flavoursome delicacies. Welcomed by the Loft’s warm and dim ambience, along with our lovely host Eddie, we were seated amongst other eager cocktail-tasters next to a nearby marble-coated bench holding small, hovering fire displays.
First up, we were greeted by the delightful Cobbler; a giant-sized wine glass containing vodka, apple liquor, cranberry, apple and ginger cider and lots of ice –all topped with a generous portion of sliced pear and mint. The fruitalicious blend somehow left me with the pleasant aftertaste of honey.
Next was the Gin Fizz No. 53; a herbaceous blend of gin, lime juice, dill, mint and thyme. As refreshing as it was, this alcoholic beverage felt dangerously like a healthy juice cleanse –maybe it could be, minus the gin?
What followed was one of my new favourites, the Zombie. Infused with pineapple and lime juice, grenadine, passion fruit and the sweet syrup of falernum, this rum-based beverage sits heavenly on the taste buds and is definitely a popular choice amongst the ladies. As I was convinced the glass of bliss couldn’t get any better, the decadent cherry that lay on the surface tasted surprisingly similar to the red Starburst Fruit Chew lolly; this literally was the cherry on top (pun intended).
Warning: those who deem themselves brave enough must be able to handle a strong glass of liquor –the Georgia Julep is definitely for the daring. The powerful minted bourbon in this beast is complemented with hints of peach and seasonal berries, and again, topped with beautifully fresh mint.
As a lover of tea, and sadly tea only, I am unable to grasp the art of coffee-drinking in general which made things a little difficult when I was presented with the Coffee Experiment; the Loft’s signature expresso martini. A strong dessert beverage infused with dark rum, spiced caramel, Shiraz reduction and expresso, my juvenile taste buds were unable to handle the explosion of coffee and alcohol within my mouth. But, my coffee-loving friend was very fond of the solid brew, as were many of the other ‘coffee people’ in the room. If you love coffee, you’ll enjoy this one.
As for food, the Loft provided us with a generous selection of meats along with their own complementary flavourings. Truffle Sui Mai is a gorgeous serving of pork enveloped by a dumpling-like pastry and topped off with mushroom and herbs, a perfect representation of Autumn.
Amongst the beautifully-tasting Peking Duck Pancake where guests are presented with thinly-sliced duck, cucumber and a rich, dark sauce to create their own wrap, and the oh-so-tender Lamb Cutlets with a side of tomato, basil, red onion and olive oil –much like the exquisite flavours in bruschetta- The Garlic Butter Bug Tails were a winner. With green paw paw, crushed peanuts and red chili, these melt-in-your-mouth Moreton bay bugs had me obsessed (I may have gone back for seconds).
For my most anticipated meal of the night, dessert that is, I was not disappointed by the Deconstructed Cheese Cake which literally was, deconstructed. The masterpiece offers textures of biscuit, berries, mint and caramel shards that melt in the mouth. Also accompanied was (The) Contender; a cocktail containing strawberry-infused gin, mandarin and rosemary syrup and lemon and apple juice, along with a sneaky toasted marshmallow that balanced delicately over the glass on a rosemary stem. This combination delivers just the right amount of sweetness.
Filled with an abundance of private hideaways, including an area sectioned off by a circular draping of string curtains, the Loft offers a beautiful space where friends can cluster together, chat and sip on a glass of wine all night long.
Check out the new Autumn-inspired cocktail menu and enjoy a sophisticated evening that is the nightlife of the Loft Oyster and Wine Bar.