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Gas-light Izakaya, Collingwood

You want a definition of "bull market"? Look no further than the Collingwood pub scene, currently undergoing a food-driven revival taking in everything from the righteous southern fare of Le Bon Ton to the pizza-lovin' raucous good times at Lazerpig. Now into the fray leaps Gas-light Izakaya, a collaboration between Smith Street's Gasometer Hotel and the strip's modern pan-Japanese restaurant, Northern Light.

"An izakaya is really a Japanese pub where you go to have snacks and beer so it seems like a natural fit," says Northern Light chef and co-owner Adam Liston. "What's interesting is that it hasn't really been done in an actual pub context in Melbourne before." The Gasometer, on the corner of Alexandra Parade, has had a varied history - it was an Irish theme pub until new owners Clint Fisher (of Brunswick's Retreat Hotel) and Shan Vanderwert (the Post Office Hotel in Coburg) reinstated its live music and now they're installing a pair of binchotan charcoal grills Liston bought on a recent trip to Japan.

The chef's love of yuzu, shichimi and all the big flavours of Japan is plain to see at Northern Light; they'll be on show at Gas-light Izakaya, albeit in a simpler and more casual context. Diners can expect plenty of yakitori, katsu (aka breaded and deep-fried meats and vegetables) and other snacks of a similar stripe.

"One thing they do a lot in Japan is fried cheese," Liston says. "I ate in one Michelin-starred restaurant in Japan and had this amazing mozzarella skewer done on the binchotan so it was stringy and smoky and just delicious."

Drinks-wise, they'll be adding a couple of Japanese beers on tap, including Okinawa's popular Orion, and sakes before the doors swing open on August 27.

Gas-light Izakaya, 484 Smith St, Collingwood, Vic, (03) 9416 3335

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