If you are wandering around Duxton Hill, look out for a glowing red sign with a mischievous Cheshire cat grin. This is the entrance to Gabriel Lowe and Jesse Vida’s Cat Bite Club, which celebrates agave and rice spirits.
The bar at 75 Duxton Road is the fulfilment of a lifelong dream for Lowe and Vida, who both have more than 30 years of hospitality experience combined. Offering agave and rice spirits such as soju and shochu, the upscale spot evokes the quirkiness, excitability and naughtiness of cats – just what guests can expect when sipping their drinks.
Look out for a blend of cultures and flavour profiles in the creative cocktails. Agave and rice spirits may come from vastly different parts of the world, but they share many commonalities when it comes to flavours and ingredients, from coriander to rice, citrus to chilli. Both types of spirits also have deep history in Mexican and Asian cultures, where production processes are rooted in craftsmanship and tradition.
The bar offers around 100 different agave spirits, a long list of rice spirits, and a curated selection of vodka, gin and whisky.
Illustrator Mark Reihill’s bright, whimsical menu demystifies classic cocktails with colourful illustrations. From the Espresso Martini to the Queens Park Swizzle, each page showcases a classic cocktail with agave or rice spirit variations. A small agave and rice icon shows the base spirit, while a blue cat head indicates alcohol-free drinks ($18++).
The journey begins with a signature serve for each category. Under agave is the Cat Bite Margarita ($26++) that includes Código 1530 Blanco Tequila, Siete Misterios Espadín Mezcal, Cointreau, fresh citrus blend, agave nectar and sherry. The rice category serves Soju Sprint made with Tokki Soju from Brooklyn, peach, honey, mint, fresh citrus blend, sherry, absinthe, and soda($24++).
Thanks to an extensive spirit list, you can choose a neat pour, a tasting flight, a tasty cocktail, or just explore reinterpretations of classics through the lens of agave and rice spirits.
The food, including vegan and vegetarian options, uses Mexican and Asian ingredients and complements the drinks and reflects their flavours. Among the shareable bites are Chili Chicken Bao ($15/2 pieces), Tuna Tostada ($12) and Chips & Guac ($9).
For more information, visit catbiteclub.com.
Photos: Benjamin Sim