Saga is hidden behind two ornate hand-carved wooden doors just a few twists and turns away from Kensington Street. Inside, the bar looks like it could have been in Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The intimate space is lit by lanterns hanging from vines and roots that sprawl across moodily lit stone-stacked walls. There’s a water feature with a huge buddha head, an illuminated technicolor jungle motif, and the bathrooms are adorned in gold-leaf and mosaics.
You can’t quite pinpoint where in the world you are supposed to be, but it’s definitely far away from Sydney.
The design creativity is matched by the quality of drinks and food. Bar manager Quinton Seeto’s (The Barber Shop, Cafe Sydney, Bodhi Restaurant and Bar) cocktail list changes weekly (but expect rum to show up a lot).
There’s also a list of non-alcoholic and low-alcohol cocktails, such as the Orchard by the Highest Fall (Lillet Blanc, Seedlip Garden, lemon, chilli, sugar snap peas and sugar syrup. Head sommelier Casey Sullivan-Myers (Mr Wong) has created a wine list that reaches across the globe; it includes a 13-year-old chardonnay that’ll set you back $2100.
In the kitchen, head chef Ryan Hu (General Chao) is making kingfish sashimi served with avocado, a curl of cucumber and a delicious yuzu and chilli dressing. The soft shell crab and baby calamari comes with a Singapore chilli sauce, and the lemongrass panacotta is drizzled with lychee syrup and served with matcha soil, a white peach and lime gel, and dehydrated mandarin.