Crane Bar Takes Off

Drink, Sydney / 6 January 2015

Crane Bar in Potts Point is what you’d get if a beautiful Japanese geisha made love to a fine Australian wine. Located in Potts Point this Japanese bar and restaurant is covered in more flowers than Woodstock and has an outdoor space that would make Better Homes and Gardens jealous.
Crane played host to the launch of a new boutique wine company called Artiste last week. Keeping us all entertained while we tried six different wines was some smooth jazz. At one point they played the theme song from Mission Impossible, which perfectly reflected how I felt about the sheer amount of food and wine circulating the room.
We started with the 2014 Pinot Grigio. Like all Artiste wines, it is made from cool climate fruit from the Eden Valley and was the Victoria Beckham of wines; tight and lean. The Pinot also had a beautifully crisp finish. Winemaker, Simon announced, “Being a South Australian is my passion,” before the oysters arrived with a flourish and the accolade that they are “the only oysters in Australia worth having.”
The 2014 Dry Riesling followed, dished up with a White Soy Sea Barramundi.
The South Face (or Off-Dry) 2014 Riesling is a law unto itself, since it contained ten grams of sugar and was delicious. Chilli Chutney Spicy Prawn Cigars that were both crunchy and sweet accompanied the Riesling.
The fourth match made in heaven was a 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, paired with Prawn Gems that were so fresh they could have swam off the skewer if it hadn’t been for all that delicious tempura batter.
About ninety per cent of the room was tipsy by this point, and the other ten per cent were waiters, so we had a well-timed break to watch Chef Taichi dissect an entire fresh Kingfish. Taichi did things with knives that haven’t been seen outside of Dexter, and he also won the #1 Most Creative Use Of A Go-Pro Award.
Taichi then dished up the fish as a delicious Fresh Kingfish Sashimi that went with a 2014 Viognier that was both refined and sophisticated.
Next, according to my notes – I stopped taking notes. But I am assured that the 2014 Chardonnay was enriched by aromas of rockmelon and white peach, underscored by an understated layer of oak. But I’d have to have one foot in the grave before I forget the Miso Grilled Pork Loin. Served on a spoon, so that even the tipsiest of diners can indulge easily, it packed a flavoursome punch that had me chasing the waiter in search of several more helpings.

The Karage is served with the Snoop-Dogg Seal of Approval
The Karage is served with the Snoop-Dogg Seal of Approval

Executive Chef Taichi Ito also served Arancini with Edamame and a Chicken Karage with a kickass backstory. When Taichi was working in Brisbane, one particularly difficult customer by the name of Snoop Dogg walked into his restaurant and demanded fried chicken. Not wanting to disappoint his Japanese ancestors or Snoop Dogg, Taichi whipped up a karage that is inspired by Southern Fried Chicken, but still smacks of Tokyo. I can only assume that his other celebrity clientele – Lady Gaga, Robin Williams and Stevie Wonder, amongst others – were more relaxed.
The Japanese Legend of the Crane tell us that ‘crane’ means ‘the bird of happiness’. Which is exactly how I felt as I flew out of Crane Bar later that evening.
To find out more about Artiste wines visit