You’ll find Geisha Haus tucked away upstairs via a nondescript entrance on Roslyn St, right next to Gastro Park. Formerly known as Beach Haus, the hidden little, oddly shaped gem is now a hub of fresh and creative contemporary Japanese food, with a menu shaped by Rajendra Kumar Tamang, a man who already has an impressive CV including venues like Sokyo and a a 5-star Maldives resort.
Tamang has put together an array of good quality eats to go along with the drinks, of which are paramount here. Geisha Haus is a bar first and an eatery second, a hub of fresh cocktails made using everything from liquid nitrogen and dry ice to just good ol’ fashioned fresh ingredients.
The focus is on enjoyable, sessionable cocktails like the Kawaii Kisses ($19) (with watermelon, T2 Just Rose tea, sake, and Belvedere) or the Smoking Geisha ($20) (T2 Russian Caravan tea, with mezcal, and cinnamon smoke). The latter isn’t anything special to look at it, but it’s the stand-out flavour here, teasing out the heavily smoked flavour of Russian Caravan and blending this up with the sweet, breathy mezcal; it’s made at the table using a smoke-filled decanter, adding a little theatre to your order.
If you’re after something a little on the sweet side, the Irazaki Brulee is a very pleasant cocktail. House-honeyed Belvedere is mixed up with chestnut liquor, coconut water, T2 Toasty Nougat tea, and a dash of Frangelico, shaken into a foam, coated with sugar, and blow torched into a brulee. Coconut flakes and raw honeycomb complete the picture-perfect concoction
Of course, there’s plenty of different sake options to go around, all speaking to the casual, lively atmosphere at Geisha Haus, which is undoubtedly designed to go with the venue’s dedication to performance and cinema. The food and drinks here should be consumed while you’re watching a burlesque performance or taking part in one of the venue’s film competitions, both of which play a major part in the branding of Geisha Haus following it’s re-work.
In terms of food, Tamang has made sure to showcase different dimensions of casual contemporary Japanese with everything from very fresh, very attractive platters of sushi (like the Seared Salmon Roll [$22]) to, one of my personal favourites, Maguro Hana ($18 for 4 pieces). Maguro Hana is flower-shaped tuna freshly sitting atop squares of tempura rice and topped with spicy mayo; delicious and moreish with a lovely, firm, if not a bit too sticky, mouthfeel.
There’s also a good serving of Popcorn Prawn ($24), and some really fine pieces of Miso Cod ($24) on the menu. Though, the most head-turning dish would be the Chef’s signature Haus Cigar ($9) which is tuna tartare wrapped in pastry, to resemble a cigar, resting over sesame ash. The pasty has a thin, wafer-like texture so it doesn’t take any more than a little bit of mouth contact to instantly break away and reveal that sweet, fresh, and creamy tuna tartare inside.
These are elegant and substantial bar snacks, and while they can be a bit pricey, they make complete sense when paired up with the cocktails and the entertainment focus that is quickly coming to define Geisha Haus.
In a time when business models for the area are changing and trying to adapt to draconian lock out laws, it’s nice to have a little hideaway where you can go out early, grab some good food and drink, enjoy a slice of entertainment from Sydney’s rich local arts scenes, and leave without needing a “big night”.
Address: Level 1/5-9 Roslyn St, Potts Point
Contact: (02) 8065 1812
Lead image supplied by Geisha Haus