Housed in a fairly inconspicuous nook at the crest of Devonshire Street, inside Kagura you’ll find the sweet smell of smoked maple wood, a collection of rare and antique whiskies and a rustic, experimental bar menu inspired by regional areas of Japan.
Kagura aspires to capture the atmosphere of those little drinking and eating places you find in the back alleys of Japan, where it’s so intimate and chill you can’t not have a conversation with the bartender.
There is perfected flavor-of-the-month karaage chicken, and theatrical dishes such as scallops coated with Bruichladdich Octomore whisky mist and served in a cloud of maple smoke, underneath a glass cloche. There’s also a pair of ox-tongue skewers and a tasting plate of house-cured and house-smoked sashimi.
A simple list of natural and organic wine has been selected. The cocktail list and whisky collection belongs to owner and bartender, Flynn McLennan. A drink called Youth of the Beast is his spin on the tequila Old Fashioned. It’s a combination of house-made tangerine bitters, chipotle liqueur, 123 Organic Reposado tequila and – once again – smoked with sweet, heady maple wood.
Kagura hosts smoking sessions on Sunday afternoons. Chef Yoshi Harada chooses a selection of fish, beef and pork to cure with various flavours and we smoke them with various woods.