There are cherry-blossoms painted onto the wall. Bottles of sake are the focal point above the bar. And you can see straight through to the kitchen if you're standing out front.
Bar Ume is in the space that once was Kerby Craig’s Ume Restaurant. His rebrand, and the complete change of menu, has transformed the venue into a casual eatery based on the success of the Ume burger pop-ups.
The menu features a regular list of burgers and side dishes alongside specials, which change weekly. The ebi prawn burger (a katsu-fried slab of prawn mousse with tartare sauce and cabbage) and the Ume Burger (with the signature Wagyu sauce) alongside umani fries or house-made pickles are favourites. There's also fried-chicken nibblets and a sesame-rich salad. Both pair nicely with the extensive selection of sakes and 17 Japanese whiskies. House-made sodas – in flavours such as yuzu and passionfruit ginger – are also available, and Craig says creative highball cocktails (including an oolong-tea version) will soon feature.
Head chef Joe "Chewba" Siahaan (formerly of Vic's Meat Market and Merivale restaurants) runs the grill; he was involved with the pop-ups, too. There is banquette seating along the main wall and stools around the entirety of the bar.