The hip surrounds of Carlton have welcomed a fresh face with the few-weeks-old Henry Sugar, a food, wine and cocktail bar that marks the first joint venture by Kiwi chef Michael Baker and ex-Cookie bartender Daniel Mason. Setting up on Rathdowne Street, what started as a planned dessert cocktail bar has evolved to pushing an equal focus on food and drink with a simple, seasonal and considered approach.
Baker is of course heading up the kitchen here, putting together a menu of ever-changing share-style dishes that includes signatures like Lentil Parfait which has been glazed with pedro ximinez and served with house brioche, Tofu Tartare with avocado, shiso, yuzu and crusty house white bread spread with miso butter, and Kangaroo Rillet with pickled cauliflower, pickled onions and croutons.
Determined to do things different, the chef has also put equal thought into the dessert menu, offering the likes of Coconut Custard with coconut granita, mirin and citrus sorbet, and a simple Meringue with sumac, fruit, and vermouth.
Staying true to the name, some of the more eye-catching non-alcoholic on the menu sound like a sweet tooth’s dream. You’ve got Tonka Cola which has been fermented in-house, like several other sodas for one, then Lemon Myrtle Fizz mixed with bramble-tea gin, raspberry and citrus. Minimal intervention wines will sit comfortably next to the more alcoholic options, which include cocktails like an interesting mix of locally made moonshine, caraway and pineapple. A range of vermouths, sherries, mistelle and sake also play a role behind the bar.
Address: 298 Rathdowne Street, Carlton North 3054
Hours: Tues-Thurs 4:30pm-late; Sun 3pm-late