Thanks to that quartet of books by that lady who loves Muse, vampire literature has seen quite the resurgence in popularity. Indeed, according to a Paris Review interview with Stephen King conducted in 2006, vampires have never really gone out of fashion.
It was of course Irish writer Bram Stoker who showed us how this vampire stuff was done, initially (poor John Polidori!). Bleeding legend, historical persons and a good ol’ dash of Victorian sexual repression into each other (no pun intended), his novel Dracula continues to entertain and inspire supernatural media even today. But please don’t mention Keanu Reeves in Francis Ford Coppola’s film – it’s still a sore spot.
So basically, to get their kicks off, Victorian audiences were entertained by tales of aberrant sexuality…in Eastern Europe.
These were the things I was thinking about when I first learnt about the origins of the name Naked For Satan, a new pintxos bar in Fitzroy. Leon Satanovich, the man who partially lends his name to the venue, was actually from Russia. ‘Naked For Satan’ actually refers to getting near-naked to work on the stills, creating moonshine for Satan, as the Aussies christened him, given that Satanovich is apparently too much of a mouthful.
You lot probably want me to shut up now, so here is a fab pic of the interior.
By the time I took one of my closest friends L to Naked For Satan for lunch, I’d already been a few times (pretty rare for me!). I figured it would impress her, as she is from Sydney. I’d never heard of pintxos before this gorgeous bar opened up so numerous ‘research’ trips were imperative for educating: pintxos being the Basque version of tapas. Save your toothpicks and you pay $2 for each morsel you devour at the end of your session, and order drinks along the way. Be careful who you go out with as they will most likely repeat the word ‘pintxos’ in the most annoying manner possible (Tristan and Alex, I’m looking at you).
Make sure you leave room (in your belly and on your plate!) for the hot ones that are served personally by the staff who make a round of the bar to bring them to you.
There is a good array of vegetarian ones, and even some desserty ones – miniature profiterole-type whatsits and *cue zomg here* prunes soaked in armagnac.
My only criticism is that some of the cream cheese-based ones are a little heavy on the cheese.
Here’s one of my favourite ones – Tom Cooper smoked salmon. Pretty simple combination but I love it so.
Another fave is the chilli mussels with capers.
If you’d like to see more photos of the delectable deliciousness, please go to Tristan’s Flickr set. I want to talk about the drinks now! For example, their Naked For Satan ale is brewed especially for the venue by Matilda Bay’s garage. It’s a wheat beer, and a pretty approachable one at that, which subtle banana esters (so you can get a whiff of banana) and hints of clove. These are pretty standard in wheat beers. It’s a very chuggable drop – should be more so in the extreme heat of summer. Word is it’s also modelled on Matilda Bay’s retired Redback.
Oh yes, then there’s the infused vodkas, that which they use in their cocktails. L and I shared an Opiumtini – their take on the vodka martini which has opium-infused vodka softened with rose. It’s like drinking liquid Turkish delight! Heavenly. On a toothpick, there are three teensy rosebuds floating in the cocktail.
Or a take on their Bloody Mary? Silly Tristan doesn’t like Bloody Marys (‘Maries’ sounds wrong!) because they remind him of V8 juice! Ha. I can understand that.
Each time I’ve been here, it’s never failed to impress me and I’ve tested the array of pintxos available quite extensively. Despite how swanky it is, I’m surprised by how wonderfully friendly and informative the staff are. And how beautiful the space is! Judging from the entrance, you wouldn’t think it to be as roomy as it is and every inch is decked out in style. I hope the visit impressed my Sydneysider bestie!