Take a trip to Tel Aviv at ZA ZA TA’s cocktail bar sibling Kazba
A good bar will help you forget about the world for a while, but a great one can transport you to another part of it. Kazba is a brand-new cocktail and snack spot that looks to shuttle sippers to Israel, where drink making is less a vocation and more of an alchemical art form. Here, spices, spirits and specialised ingredients are mixed to create tempting decoctions, each given life with a bit of theatricality. What results is a transportive (and thirst quenching) experience not readily found in Brisbane. Kazba opens this Friday March 19 – here’s what you can expect …
When ZA ZA TA opened in Fortitude Valley beneath the Ovolo hotel, it promised to introduce diners to the epicurean delights of Israel or, more specifically, the flavours of culinary melting pot Tel Aviv. The restaurant made good on its promise – not only pushing Mediterranean-meets-Middle-Eastern cuisine into the spotlight, but a pivot to showcasing exclusively vegetarian eats helped shift the dialogue around meat-free dining. Throughout its lifespan, ZA ZA TA’s plated fare has been ably complemented by a killer drinks selection, but now the team behind the restaurant is looking to elevate its beverage option to the same lofty standard the food has achieved. Enter Kazba – ZA ZA TA’s sip-centric sibling that promises to be a place to “escape the ordinary and experience the exotic”. A different side of the same coin, Kazba doubles as a pre-dinner meeting point and standalone cocktail bar, with a singular buzzing atmosphere established courtesy of theatrical mixology and a soundtrack of Arabic rhythms fused with funk, soul, Afrobeat and disco tracks, selected by music curator Andrew Lewis and a roster of vinyl DJs. The Kazba space has been given a cosmetic makeover courtesy of award-winning interior design crew Luchetti Krelle. Inspired by old-world glamour, the team has taken cues from Victorian-era conservatories, traditional Queenslander architecture and 1940s cocktail parlour chic for an aesthetic that bridges Tel Aviv and Brisbane with panache, creating the perfect spot to enjoy one of the bar’s exquisite cocktails.
Speaking of all things tasty, the Kazba team (led by cocktail guru Jared Thibault) is pushing the boundaries when it comes to its cocktail menu – especially in terms of presentation. Concoctions are inspired by everything from Tel Aviv nights and Arabian spice routes to famous literary works – all are served in eye-catching vessels sourced from bazaars and markets. We’ll start with the ‘Up In Smoke‘ section, which offers guests a multi-sensory drinking experience that makes use of olfactory nerves as much as the tastebuds. The heady persimmon negroni mixture is caressed by cherry smoke, while the Tel Aviv Sazerac has notes of applewood smoke winding through a mix of arack musar, za’atar rye, Peychaud’s bitters, demerara and lemon. A range of tongue-tingling tipples can be found on the ‘Fizzy Bubbly’ page, where soda water is mixed with house-made cordials in an ode to the Israeli gazoz. Kazba’s seasonal signature cocktails such as the Amardeen Sour (dried-apricot bourbon, lemon, housemade Middle Eastern amaro, honey, bitters and apricot fruit leather) and Levinsky Market Julep (prickly pear, Tio Pepe sherry, Pampero blanco, strawberry sumac shrub, fresh mint, strawberries, sumac and star anise) are examples of the bar’s ambrosial alchemy, but don’t be afraid to dig deeper – the team is also instigating a collision between old and new with riffs on some classic concoctions. If you’ve got a group, your best option is to go in on a shared cocktail, especially the ‘Rock The Kazba’ Disco Punch, which boasts a mixture of Pampero anejo, Hennessy VS, Massenez apricot, lemon verbena tea, fresh mint and dehydrated lemons – enough for four people to enjoy. Executive chef Roy Ner has crafted a punchy menu of Israeli-inspired bar food, most of which is lovingly cooked over charcoal and wood fire. Morsels such as the chilli haloumi savoury doughnuts with pomegranate and chilli jam, three-cheese mutarbak gozleme, silverbeet and fetta borek fingers and old-school hummus pair perfectly with your drink of choice.
Kazba officially opens to the public on Friday March 19. For operating hours and other details, head to the Stumble Guide.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.