Little Bang Brewery has given up the food trucks and will launch its first in-house beer-centric food menu, designed by head chef John McFarlane.
Little Bang Brewery launches its in-house restaurant
On Thursday night, 4 October, the Little Bang brewery in Stepney is stepping up its in-house offering with the official launch of its newly built kitchen and inaugural beer-focussed menu.
For much of the brewery’s history – in both Union and Henry Streets – food trucks have been the main fare, but over the last couple of months the team has worked alongside their new chef, John McFarlane, to design a food offering of the venue’s own.
This has been Little Bang’s long-term goal since moving to their Henry Street premises in December last year, with space kept aside in the plans for an open kitchen.
John promises the brewery’s legacy of food trucks will continue in the ethos of the in-house offering, with the inaugural menu offering up a range of familiar pub-friendly favourites alongside some more adventurous options.
“Think Asian tapas meets a burger van on the street type of thing,” he says.
“We’re going to have shoestring fries, which everybody knows chips, but you can choose your seasoning on these chips, and you might choose the furikake, the Japanese seaweed seasoning on your chips, which is something a little bit different.
“We’re going to have a lot of vegan and vegetarian options going on, and house-made bar snacks as well that I’m pretty proud of. There’ll be miso and maple beer nuts. We’re going to make a brittle with one of the dark beers, and there’s… vegan pork rind – think of a homemade Sakata cracker – which is pretty cool.”
The menu will also feature Buffalo wings, beef short ribs, Berkshire pork belly, and a tom yum-style roast chicken dish.
When CityMag arrives at the brewery for our interview, late on Monday afternoon, the last piece of equipment for the kitchen has just arrived and will soon be installed. John tells us the finalised menu will be locked in the coming days, as he breaks in the new equipment.
John presents us with a small scoop of malt ice cream, made from a batch of crystal malt that is used in Little Bang’s beers and with milk from cows that are fed with Little Bang’s spent grain, and John has designed a barbecue sauce that uses the brewery’s Little Banger session ale.
“It’s a newer, fresher, lighter summery version of a barbecue sauce, not the cloying hickory sugar type ones. I feel like it celebrates Adelaide in the summer, there’s a lot of orange zest and herbs and smoked chilli and stuff like that going on,” John says.
The chef tells us most of the menu’s dessert section will be ice cream-based (he’s also experimenting with a Schwangberry sorbet), but there are some fun things in the works.
“We’ve been toying with a coffee stout affogato, [and] we were actually planning a Sludgebeast-amasu over the weekend,” he says.
John is new to Adelaide, having moved here from the Huon Valley in Tasmania where he ran his own catering company and would appear at places like Fat Pig Farm and Dark Mofo.
John moved to Tasmania from Sydney hoping to be a part of the Apple Isle’s emerging paddock-to-plate slow food scene.
“It’s really that same thing that’s brought me up this way as well, it’s chasing that same relationship between the producer and the customer,” John says.
“We’re going to have pork, chicken and beef on the menu, and with all of them we know which farm it’s coming from and we have a direct line to the producer. We know the whole story.
“And living in Adelaide itself, I just love the melting pot of everything. Going to the Central Markets and having all those Asian stores and fresh veg and a little bit of everything from everywhere all coming together, it’s just so much fun.”
For Little Bang co-founder Ryan Davidson, launching the Little Bang kitchen is an important step for the business in providing a “more complete offering.”
“We love having the food trucks, we made a lot of good friends there and did love the variety of it, but I feel like this gives us more of an opportunity to make the whole venue a more reliably satisfying venue for everyone all of the time. We can control what we want the whole experience to be,” he says.
“Each month after we opened the place, it was clear that it wasn’t just the honeymoon period – it just kept growing. So we have to just rise up to meet it and be a really serious venue that takes total interest in every facet of the experience.”
The Little Bang kitchen’s launch this Thursday is the first of a few changes happening at the venue over the coming months. Next week, the brewery is extending its hours and opening on Wednesday nights; in about a month’s time the mezzanine above the bar will be open, increasing seating capacity and providing drinkers with a rooftop view of the brewfloor; and later in the year, head brewer Filip Kemp will scale up the brewery’s equipment.
“We are just constantly growing. So we’ve also got new brewing equipment coming in by the end of the year to give us more capacity and more efficiency,” Fil says.
“We’re still struggling to meet demand. We have our production meetings and we’ll go, ‘Well, we don’t have anymore tanks so we can’t do anymore, so it is what it is.’
“It sucks to be in that position, but it’s also good, I guess. We just need to make some more beer.”
Both Ryan and Fil seem not to be able to believe how far their brewery has come – from a kitted out garage and carport to this enormous project – having kept their heads down, fully submerged in running the business.
“Little Bang is 20 people now,” Ryan says with a look of astonishment.
“We’re finally reaching the point where we truly understand and trust that if you simply attract likeminded people who are good at what they do, you don’t have to worry about exactly how they’re doing.”
“So basically, we’re just making Ryan and myself redundant so we can go and play golf,” Fil grins.
Be among the first to experience Little Bang’s inaugural menu this Thursday, 2 October from 4pm. And get more Little Bang into your week by stopping by on Wednesdays, starting from next week on 9 October.