29 February 2024

Alia Bar brings classy, relaxed Greek dining to London Circuit

| Lucy Ridge
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Bar with stools.

Alia Bar will easily transition from relaxed daytime meals to midnight drinks. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

Since the closure of Zoo bar in 2023, there’s been an air of mystery around the large London Circuit corner block as the interior was gutted. The details have now been released for Alia Bar, a Greek-inspired dining experience set to transport you to the idyllic surrounds of Santorini.

Drawing on the culinary heritage of the owners, Alia will feature fresh Greek flavours. Think olive oil, oregano, lemon and plenty of fresh seafood. The food promises to be luxurious and generous without breaking the bank. Whether you’re enjoying a work lunch, a family-style dinner or late-night cocktails, Alia will transition from relaxed day-time meals to midnight drinks.

White vase on plinth.

Alia Bar is the work of interior designer Nik Bulum. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

Since purchasing the site before COVID, Jamahl Bakri had wanted to transform the site into something special, but the stars never quite aligned. Realising there were no other Greek restaurants in town, he decided that after closing ZOO, it was time to put Greek food back on Canberra’s radar. There’s also a family connection: Alia is the name of his 16-month-old daughter.

Interior designer Nik Bulum has transformed the former ZOO bar with a mix of large shared tables, a bespoke bubble couch, marble bars, floor-to-ceiling windows and chandeliers.

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Nik told Region that he wanted to elevate the interior while keeping the style of service low-key.

“It’s really temple-like and quite minimalist. We want to keep the focus on the conversation and the company. When you walk in here, you might expect it to be almost silver service and food with foams made of sea creatures,” he laughed.

“But it’s actually going to be really rustic, family-style food. Just really relaxed and delicious.”

The deli section will allow diners to create their own charcuterie boards with cured meats, cheeses, roasted veg and olives. Freshly shucked oysters and house-made focaccia will round out the deli offering. The main menu will offer hearty Greek and Mediterranean-style fare with classics like saganaki (baked cheese soaked in honey, chilli, oregano and lemon) or chicken souvlaki with pita, tzatziki, and tirokafteri (spiced fetta dip).

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The bar will feature signature cocktails such as the Ouzotini, a martini-inspired drink made with ouzo, a popular aniseed flavoured Greek spirit. Or, for those with a sweet tooth, try the baklava-inspired cocktail, complete with crisp filo pastry garnish.

“We want it to feel like you’re just having a nice family dinner, whether with your chosen family, friends or your actual family,” Nik said.

White table with quirky glass light fitting and white curtains.

“It’s really temple-like and quite minimalist. We want to keep the focus on the conversation and the company.” Photo: Lucy Ridge.

Whether you’re an Aphrodite looking for her Apollo or a Dionysus looking to indulge (although, obviously, we condone Athena-inspired choices), Alia is sure to offer a good time.

Alia is located at 17 London Circuit, Canberra. They are launching to the public on 6 March. Alia will be open from 11:30 am until 11 pm on Wednesday and Thursday, and from 11.30 am until 2 am on Friday and Saturday. Follow Alia on Facebook or Instagram to keep up to date with details.

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