Introducing: Nikai, the Momofuku complex’s new bar and lounge
The Momofuku complex’s second floor is home to a waiting area that overlooks the bustling Noodle Bar and to Nikai, a bar and lounge. Nikai’s warm modern design has Asian influences, most obviously in the white oak sliding doors that resemble shoji screens, which offer a little privacy when closed. Scattered vintage pieces lend the room character—like a set of mid-century Arthur Umanoff stools that line the black and white marble bar. The lounge areas, for their part, are outfitted with low chairs and retro, custom-designed tufted leather sofas. As part of the laid-back vibe, guests are invited to take part in a game of Uno or Jenga (this is something of a joke; the tiled walls and narrow peek holes look a lot like Jenga bricks, particularly after a few drinks).
Bar manager Michelle Tham (Beerbistro, Scarpetta, Colborne Lane) is in charge of the drinks menu, which features a strong selection of Ontario beers, as well as wines and sakes, and the cocktail list, which focuses on simple, well-thought-out pairings. The Krack and Coke ($12), for example, is a kicked-up rum and Coke with Kracken black rum, lime juice, demerara sugar and Mexican Coca Cola. More adventurous are the the Kai Sui ($16), a milky-looking beverage composed of gin, kasu, lychee and sparkling wine, the Mute Beat ($17), which contains rum and miso, and the cedar- and bourbon-based Man About Town ($17). We’re told that more original cocktails will be added to the roster with time. Nikai can accommodate up to 60 guests and serves walk-in patrons exclusively every day except Sunday, starting at 5 p.m.