As an atheist millennial with no children, I’m not particularly enthusiastic about Easter.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the extra public holidays, the occasional hot cross bun and the rapid transition to cosy beanie weather, but the idea of Easter egg hunts, hat parades and gorging myself on chocolate bunnies just doesn’t excite me the way it did when I was a kid.
Then I heard about the chocolate cocktails, aka Choctails, at Wakefield’s Bar and I thought to myself – that’s an Easter treat I can get excited about!
Wakefield’s Bar & Wine is the upstairs – and upscale – offering from the team behind Edgars at Ainslie shops. If Edgars is beer and chips, Wakefield’s is cocktails and oysters.
The night I visited was cold and wet outside but the bar was cosy and warm. The room is fashionably low-lit with art-deco lamps and candles scattered around the mix of seating. A retro soundtrack pumped out soul and funk classics but the soft furnishings and curtains seemed to be keeping a lid on the noise.
I was immediately keen to try the chocolate offerings but I was meeting up with a friend who hadn’t eaten yet, so we decided to save the choctails for dessert and start with a couple of drinks that would pair well with savoury menu items.
I had a Fig Lebowski: a gin-based cocktail with a rosemary garnish that comes in a very elegant little glass that I was constantly afraid of knocking over. My friend ordered a deliciously sour and spicy concoction that was served in a very sturdy tumbler.
The bar snacks and small plates at Wakefield’s feature seasonal ingredients. I particularly enjoyed the crispy Jerusalem artichoke skins filled with tender pieces of the artichoke flesh, a parmesan custard and drizzled with burnt honey. We also had superb anchovies on toast with wakame butter, and a dish of charred persimmons served with burrata and fresh basil which really captured those early autumn flavours beautifully.
Then it was time to choose our grown-up chocolatey treat from the four choctails on offer. My mate decided to have the White Dreams and I couldn’t go past the Hot Cross Espresso Martini.
The White Dreams is a mix of white chocolate liqueur and vodka topped with infused whipped cream and a macadamia crunch. It was very good. They’ve nailed the white chocolate flavour without becoming sickly sweet. The whipped cream was fun and tasty and the caramel crunch of the macadamia finished it off nicely.
The Hot Cross Espresso Martini comes in a chilled, chocolate-dipped martini glass which makes it feel a little like a choc-top at the cinema! The surface has been dusted generously with cinnamon and nutmeg: perhaps a little too generously if I’m honest. But I was still able to sip the drink without getting a mouthful of dry spice, and the cocktail itself was delightful.
The coffee was strong and a little sweet and the dark chocolate liqueur added a nice complementary flavour. I found myself surreptitiously licking the outside of the glass for a little extra chocolate … perhaps there’s more of the chocolate-loving kid in me than I thought!
The other choctails on the menu are a Chocolate Martini which features Underground Spirits caramel vodka, and strawberries & cream, which was described as tasting like a grown-up strawberry milkshake.
The choctails will remain on the menu until the end of April, so I’ve got plenty of time to embrace my newly rekindled appreciation of Easter treats.
Wakefield’s Bar & Wine is open Wednesday to Saturday, 5 pm til late, 2 Wakefield Drive, Ainslie Shops.