You might think it unusual to acknowledge the bathroom of a new bar before its menu or decor but – if you ask the owners of the Fu Cocktail & Wine Bar – a bathroom is barometer for any venue.
“As a venue operator, the way you approach the bathroom really speaks to how you handle your food, drinks and staff,” Geoffrey Hunt tells Broadsheet. He’s one half of the duo behind the new North Adelaide hotspot, alongside Eva Yu, his partner in life and work.
Fu Cocktail & Wine Bar is an intimate and moody North Adelaide spot that invites you to linger well into the evening. The black marble bar is glossy to the point of glowing, and black walls contrast with gold pendant lights and tealight candles like a black velvet sky punctuated by sparkling stars. Tiny red pumpkins grown in Yu and Hunt’s garden add character to the space. (And yes, the bathroom is beautiful ornate florals and warm lighting for mirror selfies.)
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The wine list – featuring bottles in categories like “Grumpy and Serious”, “Hangry” (wines to eat with) and “Accountants” (the classics) – is exceptional. And this is no surprise, given the owners’ combined decades of experience in the industry. Yu’s background in the wine industry ranges “from wine-making and marketing all the way to distribution,” she says. Hunt previously worked as sommelier at Three 75 and Fermentasian, a Barossa restaurant famous for its 97-page wine list. There’s also a cabinet displaying the couple’s personal wine collection – while these bottles aren’t listed on the 50-strong wine list, they’re available for purchase for a special occasion, Hunt says.
The cocktail offering is equally enticing. Highlights include the Turkish Delight, a refreshing number involving rosewater, hibiscus and lime; Cigarette Daydreams, featuring bourbon and smoke; and a Freezer Martini with pickle juice. “And if you ask nicely and we have the ingredients, we’ll make you something off-list” reads the menu.
On the food front there’s a combination of classics you’d expect at a wine bar – think olives, anchovy soldiers and cheese – plus innovative snacks with an Asian flair like shrimp noodles, smashed cucumber with Szechuan chilli oil and wasabi, and a delicate 20-layer flaky pancake served with rosemary-infused olive oil and Peking duck sauce. “It’s an unusual combination but it really works,” Yu tells Broadsheet. “You just need to be a little trusting.”
But it’s the second page of the menu that speaks to the couple’s special take on a cocktail and wine bar – it features food “for your furry friends”. We’re not talking Schmackos; at Fu your four-legged buds can enjoy ocean fish served with egg yolk (enjoyed by cats, including the owners’ beloved Kaki), and chicken and vegetable rice (a favourite of local dogs).
Fu Cocktail & Wine Bar
129 Melbourne Street, North Adelaide
(08) 7225 7842