After shutting its Railway Station shopfront, Konbini has added its food offering to Applewood Distillery’s Gumeracha cellar door.
Japanese street food stall Konbini moves into Applewood’s distillery door
For the last month, people visiting Gumeracha distillery Applewood will have noticed a new food menu has been added to the venue’s offering.
Jason Barber, who is a co-founder of Good Gilbert, has started serving the sandos and snacks of his other business, Konbini, from the Applewood kitchen.
“it’s sort of been going gangbusters,” Jason says.
“Every week there’s another half more orders, and it’s been pretty cool, because they’ve just been doing cheese plates and stuff for a while.
“And the Japanese food definitely moves in line with the Unico Zelo stuff, [which] is pretty Japanese-influenced.”
Konbini first launched as an offshoot of Jason’s café brand, Mornings, offering up coffee and grab-and-go snacks akin to what you might find in a Japanese convenience store (hence the name).
The concept evolved when Jason brought a small kitchen set up into the space, offering up sandos, onigiri and deep-fried snacks like karaage.
Not long after the relaunch, Konbini’s momentum was hampered by the many disruptions of 2020.
Jason decided to close the shop after the November COVID lockdown, moving much of the equipment to Good Gilbert, which he runs with Wilson Shawyer of Commute.
Still passionate about exploring Japanese street food through Konbini, Jason struck up a conversation with Laura and Brendan Carter, who he had become friends with through the Railway Station store.
Applewood had been looking for a way to convince their guests to linger a little longer at their space, and Konbini’s snacks were a perfect fit.
“They saw that it was such a small space that we had to work with [at the distillery], and it’s a small space that we worked with in the train station, and the food that came out was conducive to drinking more. It’s a pretty good match,” Jason says.
The current menu consists of two sandos: chicken katsu, and mushroom kombu patty; as well as korokke and karaage.
The menu will develop further as Konbini settles in.
“We’re looking at the takoyaki and bringing the onigiri stuff back, just trying different stuff out each week and seeing what people are attracting to,” Jason says.
Applewood exists on a broad expanse of land (especially when compared to Konbini’s former tenancy), and Jason is keen to make the most of this.
Jason is keen to also make the use of the extra space he now has access to on the distillery’s broader property, hosting ticketed festival-style events.
“I’d love to be able to do ticketed events and more Japanese street food and things that are cohesive to their offering here,” Jason says.
“Being able to entertain the larger buses that come through and doing those more Japanese-style events that you wouldn’t usually be able to do, unless it’s part of a ticketed thing.”
You can grab a Konbini sando at Applewood Distillery seven days a week, from 12pm ’til 5pm.