Lobo Plantation is one of the city's best cocktail bars, and now its owners have unveiled their much anticipated second bar. Influenced by the soldiers and machines of the Second World War, Kittyhawk brings rye and rum cocktails to the business end of town.
“The idea for the bar came from liberation day – the day American and French soldiers reclaimed Paris during World War Two,” says Kittyhawk's co-owner and director, Jared Merlino. “We tried to think about what that night would have been like in Paris. It would have been amazing,” he says.
Kittyhawk's elegant khaki French doors conceal a large room (we're not in small-bar territory here, Kittyhawk accommodates 175 people) dominated by an impressive 12-metre-long bar. The room is divided into different areas, including a raised section with leather booths, and a stately front conservatory with city views. Various items of military paraphernalia are displayed, including a large painting of Kittyhawks (a fighter aircraft) buzzing through the sky.
At the bar it's about rye and rum. “We've got about 120 different ryes, and we're hoping to grow that list to 300 or 400,” says Merlino. “We've obviously had a lot of success with rum at Lobo, and we love playing around with it.” The 16-drink cocktail list features the Rye Gram, a take on Lobo's popular Old Grogram, made with spiced rye, coconut stout and lemon. The Polynesian Pearl Diver is a mix of rum, orange, lemon and coconut.
A lengthy wine list of 30 reds and 30 whites features French, Italian and Australian drops. The ale list has beers from breweries such as Batch, Hargreaves Hill and Riverside.
Chef Jason Wright is in charge of the kitchen. “The idea with the menu is pared-down Parisian street food, designed for sharing,” says Merlino. So expect onion soup sticks; scotch eggs; and mussel tarts. “There's some amazing restaurants around here, like Rockpool and Hubert. We wanted to do something that wouldn't compete with those venues, but which would complement them.”