By Sacha Delfosse
Perth's Oxford Hotel has turned an upstairs function space into a cutting edge cocktail lounge, 02 Bar, where chefs and bartenders combine to serve up a range of molecular concoctions.
The bar opened its door in December and was the brainchild of The Oxford Hotel's general manager, Matthew Hayes, who along with the venue’s Chef, Greg Burdon, aim to bring a new style of mixology to Perth.
Pitched as a place where "science meets cocktails", the drinks on offer are a combination of culinary and theatrical, fusing different textures and flavours through the use of liquid nitrogen, gels, mist, heat and solidifying liquids, which also visually enhance the presentation.
"This type of stuff hasn’t been done around here before. The chef and bartender combine to make the cocktails," Hayes said
"We are catering to a different crowd than the usual Oxford Hotel clientele although some of the regulars have also ventured upstairs to see what is going on."
Some of the creations on offer include a gin and tonic twist served with tiny cucumber and apple juice balls that are sucked up through a straw, Martinis topped with caramelised meringue and Rekorderlig-based fruit jellies served on top of dehydrated organic apple slices.
"Apart from doing the molecular side of things we are also using liquid nitrogen to make things such as frozen Margaritas and little alcoholic Sundae cones that are cooked in front of the patrons."
"The aim is to utilise the space and see if we can make it work. What we are trying to do is have food-oriented cocktails and go a bit further than just making a cocktail using two or three spirits," Hayes added.
The bar has a laidback and rustic layout, retaining the feel of an old building, and apart from the molecular cocktails it also has an upmarket tapas menu and a wine list to match.
At the moment the bar is operating on Wednesday and Friday nights only, and although the official capacity is for 300 people, numbers are limited to about 150 to ensure comfort for patrons.
To see the 02 Bar team in action visit http://youtu.be/VeG4WVawaSA