Galok gives gin the attention it deserves. A gleaming 100-litre still sits right in the middle of the pan-Asian bar and restaurant – which chef and distiller Carlo Tran uses to make his Galok-brand gin. It’s spicy, floral and citrusy, containing a whopping 23 different botanicals, including pandan and makrut lime leaves, jasmine and lotus flowers, plus a few natives like Tasmanian pepperberry.
That gin stars in Asian-inspired takes on classic cocktails that are pre-batched and on tap on the bar’s back wall. The gin list might include the Floral Garden Sour: Earl Grey- and jasmine-infused gin with elderflower, crème de violette, rose, lime and lavender. Perhaps the most surprising sipper on the menu, though, is the spicy, aromatic and surprisingly savoury Thai Daiquiri with its tom-yum-spice-infused gin.
Tran is Chinese and Vietnamese, and he credits his multicultural heritage for Galok’s pan-Asian approach, which also bears influences from Japan, Korea and Timor-Leste. You might try yellowtail kingfish ceviche, which might feature slightly lip-numbing Szechuan oil added to a sweet, citrusy tosazu-and-ponzu sauce. You might also be tempted by twice-cooked lamb riblets, tenderly caramelised and falling off the bone; or Pacific prawn, which is succulent on the inside and crispy on the sesame-seed-crumbed-sourdough outside, with a creamy yuzu mayo for dipping.
And as for the name? Tran says it’s the Cantonese version of his first name, Carlo.
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