Step into Ichi Nana on the ground level of 127 Brunswick St, and you’ve pretty much left Melbourne and entered into a Japanese Izakaya eatery like no other. You’ll find an extensive drinks list made up of Japanese inspired cocktails and some of the best sake around. We met up with Catia – Ichi Nana’s resident mixologist – to find out what we should be sipping on when we pull up a chair in the iconic venue. Let’s follow in the footsteps of our ancestors and drink.
“The most essential ingredients in making a memorable cocktail are simply alcohol, integrity and fresh ingredients. Oh and the right ice, the difference between using crushed or cubed is bigger than you’d think. You can’t be afraid either – if it doesn’t work, you’ll do it better the next time you try. It’s all about trial and error.”
“The biggest thing that sets Ichi Nana apart from other Japanese eateries in Melbourne is the level of experience. The staff genuinely want to be here, they welcome you with the food and drinks and actually mean it – you don’t need to take my word for that. There’s a real atmosphere here. You can come in for dinner but that’s only the start of your night. Go up one more level and check out our karaoke room with The Village People, then finish the night off with a rooftop boogie.”
“If I had to pick one drink that best sums up what Ichi Nana is about, it would have to be the Japanese Monk. Made with Green Chartreuse, sake, fresh passionfruit and a whole lot of attitude. For that extra flair, we light it on fire because… why not?
You’ll also find a drink on the beverage list to perfectly compliment every dish. When it comes to cocktails, we try the food first and then we execute the drink. The relationship between the food and the drink needs to be respected.”
“The great relationship we have with our suppliers and our staff plays a big role in the Japanese inspiration behind the beverage list. It’s about the craftsmanship of Japanese culture. We invite sake masters to visit us and advise on what we should be serving with our food. We also have sake master classes to keep our standards up to where they need to be.”
“Alcohol (like food) is something that brings people together. If I had to have one alcoholic drink for the rest of my life it would have to be red wine. There’s something about opening a bottle of wine with friends that could keep me happy for the rest of my life.”