Cocktail bar cool comes to once dry High St Ashburton with the welcome arrival of Oydis. This classy new joint is serving cocktails with a twist, snacks from a food truck parked out the back and chilled wines and beers to enjoy either in the sunny courtyard or the bar itself.
Location: 190 High St, Ashburton, VIC 3147 Ph: (03) 9885 9887
The regeneration of Ashburton, Glen Iris and their surrounds took another step forward a few months back with the eagerly-awaited opening of Oydis Bar.
And when I say ‘eagerly awaited’, I mean it. The builders seemed to have been renovating the old shop for an age with ever finishing. And then there was the original blurb on the windows which talked of roaming and freshly shucked oysters. Intriguing – but as it turned out – misleading.
When the doors finally swung open, Oydis revealed a slick fit-out more in keeping with the hip haunts to the north of Melbourne than suburban Ashy. But then things are definitely changing around these parts. Happily for the locals, Oydis Bar is the latest in a flurry of wine bars and drinking dens that have bobbed up in the area post the lifting of the Dry Zone.
For another great addition to Boroondara’s wining and dining scene, see our review of Greenhart Wine Bar – Camberwell
Really rather sexy.
Booths line one side of a long room and a backlit bar sparkles like a jewel once the sun has gone down. There’s plenty of marble and accents of dark blue, adding to the vaguely nocturnal ambience. It’s smart, but welcoming.
It’s also both a nice touch and rather smart marketing to have windows at the front of the bar that open onto the pavement. I’ve got to say that driving past and seeing people sat inside laughing and chatting gives the High Street a spark of intrigue as dusk falls.
Head out the back and you’ll find yourself in a tiered courtyard with tables and benches set in alcoves. Although there are umbrellas for shade, it was still pretty warm out there a few nights ago. However, I suspect it’s an appealing spot to chill with cool drink in hand once the sun has set.
The team at Oydis Bar also have the old cigarette shop next door at their disposal. At present, it is boarded off from the rest of the boujie bar, but has been used for a few private functions. Rumour has it, there are plans to expand into it over time.
Update: As I write (in Feb 2023), the people at Oydis have just begun renovating the neighbouring space. Hopefully, the promised “Oydis Private” function/dining space will be open soon.
Another great spot to grab a drink and maybe a bite to eat in the area is LiHO Shokudo. Read our review here.
A small, but considered wine list and 3 beers.
However, it’s the cocktails that most people are talking about.
It’s great to see tried and tested favourites given a little twist of originality.
At Oydis Bar, the addition of toasted coconut turns the perennially popular espresso martini into – you’ve guessed it – a Coconut Espresso Martini ($21). It’s a tropical spin that definitely works. Another great update is their Rooibos Negroni ($21) with smoky notes coming from rooibos infused gin and a dash of biltong spice completing the South African feel.
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I’m on a tequila jag at the moment, so the Oaxaca Old-Fashioned ($21) – tequila, mezcal & chocolate mole bitters – immediately grabbed my attention. It’s a surprisingly smooth drink, given the punch it delivers. Similarly easy to down is the Mandarin Whiskey Highball ($21) which mixes Japanese whiskey, mandarin, soda and lime to make a refreshing long drink.
However, the star of the list is probably the Mango and Ginger Highball ($21). Fruity, boozy and incredibly quaffable, it features Sri Lankan coconut flower aarack, mango and ginger. On a hot summer’s day, they should be selling it by the jug-full!
It present, Oydis is offering a limited menu of bar snacks. That said, there are some definite stand-outs.
Happily, the Sri Lankan influence continues on from the fabulous coconut fIower aarack-based cocktail we raved about above. I believe the Samosas ($16) are made in-house and if they aren’t, they are good enough to be. These hearty pyramids are fat with well-spiced veggies and held together by the crumbly short pastry. Yum!
Mehmet’s Homemade Pide ($16) with sujuk & cheese is also great with a beer or a chilled glass of something fruity.
Aside from this, there is their take on the much-loved Cheese Plate ($29) and Charcuterie board ($19) and a smattering of other options.
If the expansion into the neighbouring space happens, it’ll be a bonus. Currently, there is no fully functioning kitchen at Oydis. Instead, the limited menu is supplied via a food truck, parked over the wall at the end of the courtyard. Yep, really. If you time your trip to the loo out the back correctly, you’ll catch one of the serving staff hanging over the wall to collect their order. It’s a smart solution to what could be a big problem, as well as being a quirky talking point.
Friendly and helpful, it says a lot about their warmth that Oydis already feels like part of the fabric of Ashburton.
Great coffee and delicious breakfast and lunchtime fare awaits at Joe Frank cafe, just along High Street
Genuine nightlife is taking off in Ashburton and its surrounds and the locals are loving it.
With places like Oydis, and the microbrewery Two Doors Brewing across the road, the High Street is buzzing on a warm evening.
And with summer round the corner, Oydis is even hosting DJ sets in the bar.
Tunes, samosas and cocktails. Bring it on!
6 months on and there have been some notable changes at Oydis.
Firstly, the Wine Room/Function Room is open. This has greatly increased the seating available.
Secondly, along with the new space and the advent of colder weather, the team have introduced a Wednesday Night Trivia Competition. If you’re interested in getting a team together, make sure you book well in advance – the quiz night is already a winner with the Ashy residents.