Here Kitty Kitty is a speakeasy cocktail bar inspired by the glitz, glamour and glitter of an infamous part of Tokyo’s Shinjuku district.
Here Kitty Kitty is, if one had to describe the cocktail bar in a nutshell, is where Hello Kitty would hang out if she grew up to be a riotous gyaru.
You’ll see what I mean upon stepping into this space. Styled as a 1950s speakeasy in Shinjuku – but particularly as an ode to the somewhat disreputable Golden Gai nightlife district in Kabukicho – Here Kitty Kitty is part kawaii and part contemporary nightspot with Japanese aesthetics.
Sectioned into three concept spaces, the Zouk Group-owned 75-seater can offer a differentiated experience. First you’ll encounter the Cathouse, complete with a photo booth for selfies right at the main entrance. Gyarus – Japanese slang for ‘girl’, and refers to a particular iconoclastic Japanese subculture of female fashion – plucked from the streets of Harujuku would feel totally in place here.
Slightly further in, the space evolves into the Mamasan Lounge. More sophisticated than kitsch, you can imagine groups of kyariauman – literally, ‘career woman’, or Japanese salary woman – having some fun after a hard day in the office.
At the back is the elegant Shibari Room. Here perhaps some yakuza wives hang out while their husbands are busy running the underground.
Or so I imagine.
As you can expect, cocktails here are Japanese-themed. We like that it offers a range of highballs to refresh oneself. There’s the Classic – composed simply from Suntory Kakubin whisky with water – or the Mizuwari, made with the same whiskey but topped up with water instead. Otherwise there’s the more herbal Haiburo, as well as the citrusy Brother’s Bond, among others.
The signature cocktails run the gamut of classic cocktail styles. The Geisha is technically a White Lady with Japanese inflections from the use of yuzu and green tea, for example. The Ume Whisky Sour draws on the flavours of preserved Japanese plum for an interesting twist, while the Golden Gai Martini is a Saketini, but with a touch of umeshu for some fruitiness.
If you prefer something punchier there’s Sensei’s Old Fashioned, made using a blend of Japanese whisky and Islay Scotch single malt. Or how about Mad Cat? This is a Boulevardier that comes smoked up for additional complexity.
For food Here Kitty Kitty offers up a range of elevated bar bites that’s Japanese but with a hint of Spanish. The Korokke de Setas are lovely mushroom croquettes that burst with creamy, earthy mushroom flavours with each bite, while the Ebi Sriracha is prawn tempura served with a side of sriracha mayo. Be sure to order the Chikin Fritto, a fancy name for chicken karaage. It’s even dusted with sakura denbu, a pink-hued cod floss that adds a fun sweet and savoury note to the fried chicken pieces.
I’ll say it right here – Here Kitty Kitty isn’t for everybody. And especially not if you’re no Japanophile. But for its target audience of our versions of gyarus, kyariauman or yakuza wives?
They’re going to absolutely dig it.
Here Kitty Kitty
Address 3E River Valley Road, #02-01, The Cannery, Clarke Quay, 179024 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 6pm to 12am Tuesdays to Thursdays; 6pm to 2am on Fridays; 6pm to 1am on Saturdays; closed on Sundays and Mondays
Tel (65) 9489 8357