Named after a police blitz in 1956, Operation Dagger takes on a speakeasy vibe with a nondescript entry down a dark staircase leading the way. In the heart of Chinatown, this intimate bar is minimalistic in style with a featured chandelier dominating the space.
Owners, Luke Whearty and Aki Nishikura, match their passion for bar tending with their wealth of experience working in bars all over the world. Together, they have presided over some of the most progressive drinking programs globally.
Luke grew up in Coffs Harbour in the mid north coast of NSW. While studying and surfing, he started working in bars and headed down to Melbourne where he met and fell in love with Aki. Aki was trained by her father, Hiro Nishikura, at one of Melbourne’s finest sushi bars, Shira Nui, and when the pair joined forces, they opened Oxwell & Co in Singapore in 2013.
Deciding to open Operation Dagger was an opportunity for the couple to further showcase their talents and enjoy their partnership. Whatever your poison, you’re sure to find something to match on this creative and inspiring list of drinks. It includes a fine list of cocktails, spirits distilled in house, and also house- fermented wines.
Try classics like their signature Hot & Cold with pineapple, lavender, white chocolate and coconut, the Gomashio with toasted sesame, cucumber and ginger, or The Egg with salted egg, caramel and vanilla.
There are also a selection of what they call ‘Dangerous Drinking Water’ with mixes like the Poison Oasis with its mix of Tonka bean, cherry vinegar, coumarin, and apple blossom. Enjoy the Not a Margarita, with its pea husk, smoked agave, passionfruit, vinegar and salty fingers, or the Banana Split, with coconut blossom, lacto- fermented banana, sawtooth and coriander.
There is also a selection of natural wines available including the house-fermented Cabbage Wine. This is made with a 7-day fermented red cabbage with apple and rose. Also try the Pear and Fig using 7-day fermented pears, figs and beetroot, or the Dragon which is a 10-day fermented dragon fruit with pomegranate and rhubarb.
And don’t stress. You won’t be left hungry, as you share a 3-course or 5-course selection of chef favourites to keep you grazing during your visit. Sous bartender, Sasha Wijdessa, oversees the day-to-day management of all things at Operation Dagger. Graduating with a pharmaceutical science diploma, Sasha applied her knowledge in the sciences to her love for the craft. Her proficiency with creating drinks developed quickly, resulting in her rapid rise at Operation Dagger to Junior Bartender, Senior Bartender, Junior Sous Bartender, and to her current role.
Her management has allowed Luke and Aki the freedom to set up a new venture in Capetown, South Africa. Their new venue, Outrage of Modesty, focuses on indigenous ingredients and sustainable ‘close loop’ philosophies.