For those untouched by any element from the Land of the Rising Sun, ‘Mizu’ actually means ‘water’ in Japanese, while ‘kami’, as most of us very well already know, is the Malay word that translates plainly as ‘us’… Thus, when combined, ‘Mizukami’ literally reads as ‘our water’.
Yet, in the case of the very new Mizukami Highball that’s situated within the confines of Shiso Dining in Jalan Tun Razak’s well-established landmark, the MiCasa All-Suite Hotel, that also quite easily translates to ‘our drinks’, as here is a refreshing new venue for tasty, quick cocktails that’s set to offer jaded bar regulars the wonderful experience of an uncomplicated, casual Japanese cocktail bar.
Of course, we’re all aware that the Japanese are just great and special at very many things, and this includes their appreciation of fine drink and the craft behind every cocktail. When the Japanese drink, they take things very seriously indeed and they do it well. In fact, theirs is a luxurious celebration of all the best things about drinking: great alcohol, wonderful company and an enriching atmosphere.
And that is what the man behind Mizukami Highball – the multiple award-winning, Japanese-influenced mixologist Shawn Chong – is hoping to drum up with his latest project. If you have had the privilege of enjoying drinks concocted by this man before, then you’ll know that he’s one who takes the matching of flavours very seriously. That’s why when one picks up the menu here, laid out is a healthy variety of highballs – the perennial Nippon favourite, a selection of fine saké, a careful offering of classics, with even some zero-proof creations to boot.
“It’s nice to come back to a structured setting that a hotel offers,” reveals Chong who started his own journey in a similar establishment years ago. “Here, there are certain standards and expectations that you’re inclined to meet. But since this is not a five-star hotel, the people who walk through our doors have a certain air of relaxed casualness about them, and this is also reflected in the type of food and drinks that they ask for.”
And casual, delicious and ultimately very enjoyable drinks are what Chong offers his guests here. Since this is, after all, a Japanese bar first and foremost, what better way to start than by ordering a highball? In this regard, the Grant’s Whisky Highball is just one of nine whisky highball variations on offer. And in view of our tropical weather, perhaps this wonderful, yet simple concoction of soda water and Scotch served extra cold is the cure for the many hot and sticky evenings that feature so often lately.
“Of course, we want to give the highball a bit more of a classy cocktail persona at this place – which is why we have such a variety of branded whiskies on offer to spice up this category. Guests can choose from two blended Scotch, two blended malt, two single malt and one Bourbon, just to give a nice variety of whiskies for the venerable highball,” reveals Chong with a smile.
If you prefer other bar ‘standards’, however, why not go for one with a full-on Nippon twist? That’s where something like the Shizu Martini comes in – a wonderful mix of Chikusen Junmai saké (the draft saké that’s only available here), pineapple juice, lychee cordial and lemon juice. Gin and vermouth are completely forgotten in this mix as Chong presents a wonderfully refreshing and citrus-packed reinvention of the classic bar favourite.
“We are also proud to emphasise our Japanese influence and that’s why I always tell everyone that we are the first bar in KL to have saké on tap! And because of this draft system, the saké’s chill factors quite effectively for a more refreshing and more enjoyable experience,” continues Chong.
And on those odd days when one just prefers a tasty, cold beverage – minus any booze in it – there’s always the unique choice of ordering a ‘zero proof’ here! The ‘stout’ on offer at Mizukami Highball is actually a flavour-packed mix of good ol’, Malaysian-style kopi-o, along with a twist of honey, a touch of vanilla and finished off with a squirt of cola… Genius!
We are also proud to emphasise our Japanese influence and that’s why I always tell everyone that we are the first bar in KL to have saké on tap!
Should one get the muchies while enjoying a cocktail or two here, there’s also a short list of bar snacks to enjoy. Of course, Mizukami Highball also lives inside MiCasa’s own concept of Shiso Dining, with the bar being just one of the elements that make this up. The others include the Japanese bistro menu of Shiso, a deli that incorporates some of the staples from the venerable stalwart Cilantro Restaurant & Wine Bar; a bottle shop highlighting selections from Marche & Vinifera; and the al fresco dining area of La Terrasse. So, should you decide to have your year-end drinks at Mizukami Highball, know that you’re also set for a wonderfully relaxing and enjoyable time filled will a multitude of fantastic flavours, textures and sensations, all in one place.
Looking ahead, Chong reveals that the Mizukami Highball is set open the doors to even more exciting elements, this time from his new, very own ‘Mizukami Collective’. “With this Collective, we want to eventually build a community that will eventually be inspired to do the ‘Muzikami Bar-Hop’ – they can have dinner here at Shiso, then do some simple, uncomplicated drinks at the Mizukami Highball, before eventually moving on to more bespoke cocktails at our other, soon-to-be announced cocktail bar, set to be located at the former Omakase + Appreciate venue at the Ming Annexe.“
So much promise ahead, indeed!
Mizukami Highball MiCasa All-Suite Hotel, 368-B, Jalan Tun Razak, Taman U Thant, Kuala Lumpur. Opening hours: 4pm-11pm, daily