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Banchō's relentless commitment to kodawari.

Who does not love Japan with its near flawless culture of hospitality, design, cuisines, architecture, and a wonderful sense of ritual that pervades its society.

A country ruled by meticulous and supreme organization, people respectful to the point of being invisible with an innate sense of courtesy.

Vibrant, ever-changing streetscapes and fantastic food.

A place where you can determine your location by the variations of the shading of your miso soup – if you find yourself in the East it tends to be dark and salty, in the Western half it is more on the sweet and light end of things.

Essentially, Japan is a country daring us to detect anything that is not completely desirable.

Our love for everything Japanese was only intensified once local friends invited us down the rabbit hole of the uniqueness the bar scene in Ginza has to offer, which proved to be an exercise par excellence in terms of perfectly made drinks, great company and an unrivalled ambience.

Needless to say, we were intrigued when we learned about a Japanese style cocktail bar opening its doors in Sydney’s Chinatown neighbourhood.

While Banchō Bar managed to almost instantaneously become one of the more popular bars and has maintained its status over the last five years, it took us until very recently to experience its offerings.

We were not disappointed as from the moment we entered, the experience was graced with precision and delicacy, with Banchō serving spirits and refined cocktails reminiscent of the intimate feeling of a Japanese cocktail bar yet with the additional facet of adding their own idiosyncratic twists and finesse derived not merely from Japan but other Asian schools of mixology.

Nestled subtly in a back alley of Haymarket’s Thomas Lane, Banchō’s interior design is sleek and accentuated by muted tones, with the well-curated menus proffering an extensive selection of innovative cocktails showcasing the artful marriage of local produce with a bounty of Asian ingredients and, much to my delight, a fantastic curation of not merely Scottish drams but of course Japanese alongside Taiwanese and local Australian varieties, some of which you’d be hard pressed to find on offer in other bars on terra australis. The pan-Asian food offerings are testament to the fact that Banchō is about quality rather than quantity, and as far as dumplings go, Banchō’s crispy golden brown gyoza are some of the juiciest we have had the pleasure to sample outside the confines of Japan.

Given what we experienced during a Wednesday evening visit, the magnetic pull of what Banchō offers will definitely see us back to not only sample more of its Pavlovian-response evoking cocktails and top-shelf whisky selection but dive deeper into its next level bar snacks.


Words by AW.

Photo courtesy of Banchō.


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