Zhou Zhou – Melbourne’s New Drinking Den
This article was first published on Onya Magazine on March 18 2014
Chapel Street is certainly not lacking in places for a night out, but newly opened bar Zhou Zhou is the drinking den we didn’t know we even needed.
Located above Oriental Tea House and marked by an unmissable neon sign, Zhou Zhou is the kind of place you might stumble upon and never want to leave. Which, thanks to its late night license, you don’t have to (or at least, not until 3am).
Walking up the stairs, the place feels immediately warm and homely. It’s a vintage and eclectic look – comfy looking chairs are dotted around, with dark timbers and interesting oriental art on the walls. Designed by Hecker Guthrie, the whole look is glamorous, inspired by ‘The Bund’ Shanghai in the 1930s.
Of course, given that Zhou Zhou is David Zhou’s latest hospitality venture (he also owns Oriental Tea House downstairs), the feel of the place is just the beginning – you won’t see any ordinary food and beer here.
What’s on offer instead, is the most Asian beers under one roof in Australia; a list of over 50 brands to be exact. From Asian ales, lagers and ciders to Japanese craft beers, the comprehensive list will quench the biggest of thirsts and with so much on offer, should also encourage you to try something new.
If beer isn’t your thing, then between the decent wine list and cocktails, you should be covered. The cocktails are real stand-outs – bursting with flavour and inspired with Asian twists. The Mekong Hijinks mixes lychee, lemongrass, hibiscus tea and gin but my favourite is definitely The Hello Vera – a delicious combination of West Winds gin, peach and aloe vera with a minty twist.
And I haven’t even mentioned the food yet. Wow. Steaming dumplings, spring onion cakes, pork buns and calamari are fiery and spicy and utterly delicious. The Zhou Zhou menu is a mix of dishes from the new menu downstairs as well as some old favourites. Zhou summed it up perfectly when he told us about the basis for Zhou Zhou: “Beer and dumplings are a couple, just like Australians and BBQ, or yum cha and tea, but great beers and great dumplings are a perfect couple and they live in a very comfortable house that is Zhou Zhou.”
As I left, filled with cocktails and dumplings (including an amazing sweet one filled with dark chocolate and sesame) I told myself I would definitely be making a return visit. Whether for post-shopping relaxing, to kick off, finish or even spend the evening, be sure to add Zhou Zhou to your must visit list. Chapel Street just got a new local.
Zhou Zhou, 455 Chapel Street, South Yarra, Victoria
Open: Wed – Thur: 5pm to 11pm, Fri – Sat: 5pm to 2am, Sun: 5pm to 11pm