Since taking over the Gasometer Hotel in April 2014, Clint Fisher of Brunswick’s Retreat, and Shannon Vanderwert from the Post Office Hotel in Coburg, have worked hard to get the food side of the Collingwood live-music venue right. While bands have kept the punters flocking, the food hasn’t quite hit the mark.
Recognising that there were at least two other neighbouring pubs that nailed the more traditional pub offerings (The Gem with American barbeque, and The Fox with its classic pub grub) they approached Adam Liston of Northern Light for something a little bit different.
No strangers to Liston’s Japanese-inspired fare (he wowed them during a series of pop-ups at dining concept, Borrowed Space), the duo joined with him and his business partner, Eamon Bellew, to formulate a place to drink beer and eat Japanese snacks, with a live-music soundtrack..
“If you don’t know about Japanese food you kind of think, ‘Why would you do that in a pub?’” Linton says. “But a massive part of Japanese culture is beer. They have izakayas where you go after work for snacks – food that’s designed to be eaten while drinking beer.”
Merging the names Gasometer and Northern Light, the food focus of Gas-Light Izakaya will be yakitori (skewered food) and the more traditional, katsu (crumbed cutlets). The simple menu is centred around cooking over customised grills using binchotan, a traditional, white Japanese charcoal that’s smoke and odour free.
Liston’s sous chef, Joel Baylon, will be head chef. He’ll cook chicken-thigh yakitori with lemon and shichimi pepper, and eggplant katsu with lemon and shredded cabbage slaw. Beer will extend from local favourite Collingwood pale ale, to imported Orion draft.
Before you start on how gastropubs are killing Melbourne’s live music: the band room is staying put, as is its mezzanine-level retractable ceiling.
“It’s a music pub, that’s not changing,” Linton says. “We’re just creating food that fits the rock’n’rock attitude.”
Gas-light Izakaya takes over the Gasometer kitchen from Thursday August 27.
484 Smith Street, Collingwood
(03) 9416 3335
Tue to Thu 5pm–late
Fri to Sun 12pm–late