Local brewers Filip Kemp and Ryan Davidson’s brewing took off from Filip’s garage in 2015 with a big bang and, just like the universe, the brewery has been expanding exponentially ever since.
From the garage to Union Street, and now to Henry Street, Stepney, Little Bang Brewing Co‘s latest locale has 21 taps, wine, and now excitingly, a kitchen.
The brewery, which in the past has called in food trucks to feed beer drinkers, has brought in local chef John McFarlane to face the wryly described ‘simple’ task of designing a menu of bar food that matches the variety previously provided by the food trucks. The brief also required the menu to be ethically-sourced, sustainable, homemade, delicious, vego-friendly and suitably costed so as not to break the bank of guests.
Kemp and Davidson tell of how they wanted the kitchen ethos to match that of the beer. Little Bang is big on having fun with exploring and creating unique brews and cultivate an unpretentious, inclusive environment where customers can learn about and taste things they may have never heard of.
The last thing the brewers want is for guests to come in and experience that feeling you get walking into a fancy restaurant and feeling too intimidated to ask for a translation of the menu. Little Bang embodies the attitude of its founders, laidback, easygoing and good-humoured.
McFarlane’s menu is street-food focused, with a strong Asian influence. It is inspired by Japanese and Korean cuisine, combined with an American bar food influence. The menu will combine your beer-friendly, bar food classics with things you mayn’t have tried, or are a little outside your comfort zone.
As per the Little Bang beer ethos, ask questions, have a go and have fun doing it. In keeping with that sentiment, McFarlane describes the potential exploration of a Little Bang beer ice-cream. After tasting the raspberry sour Schwangberry brew, we can definitely get behind this vision …
The chef says he won’t always know what he’ll be making until he goes to the farmers market that day due to the big focus on seasonal fruit and veg, with everything locally sourced and handmade. Wanting nothing to go to waste, unused veggies will be pickled, thus the weekly pickle special will be born.
The street-food focus matches Little Bang’s community-mindedness – dishes are designed for sharing. However, if you’re just looking for light bar snacks to accompany your drinks, in true Little Bang fashion, McFarlane is serving up a range of bar snack classic with exciting twists. Think miso and maple beer nuts, and a seaweed crackling that takes three days to perfect.
Davidson explains the small plate and snack based menu is also a response to the needs of their patrons, who love gathering for a drink and a debate. It is important that they only be given food that requires one arm for eating – as an arm needs to remain free to wave around amidst a heated discussion.
We’ve been advised of a Korean-style short ribs dish served with fried soba salad. Served with grass fed, local farm-sourced beef, McFarlane shares Kemp’s and Davidson’s passion for ensuring Little Bang’s carbon footprint is kept minimal.
The beer is brewed on premises, and the only footprints it takes are Kemp’s and Davidson’s – as they walk it from the brewing equipment on the right side of the hall, to the taps in the bar on the left. All waste from the brewing and the kitchen goes back to the farmers who provide produce; Little Bang’s leftovers feed the short rib-destined cows.
Short-ribs aside, vegos rejoice. Not only are most of Little Bang’s brews vegan, McFarlane describes passionately how eating vegan/vegetarian at Little Bang will be ‘as fun as ordering a chicken burger’. Meals are designed to be easily made vegan/vegetarian friendly on-request, plus there will be plenty of specialty plant-based options. The chef, who is making all sauces from scratch in the kitchen, also tells of a mouth-watering vegan mayo he’ll be serving up, free of store bought nasties.
A father of three, McFarlane knows what it’s like to be out and only find processed, bulked-up meat products packed with preservatives on the menu. That’s why he’s designed a dedicated kids menu of entirely handmade-from-scratch meals.
Head to Henry Street on Wednesday nights to sip under the sparkling fairy-lights as you play MarioKart on the big screen, watch a movie or enjoy some stand-up comedy (entertainment changing week-by-week). Thursday nights are quiz nights, Friday and Saturday are open for both lunch and dinner, and Sundays are post-sleep in, late-lunch day.
Any time, sit up on the mezzanine and look over the hall, watching the brewing process behind the drink in your hand.
Keep your eyes and tastebuds peeled for more things to come from this ever-growing local business. The brewing co. which already collaborates with Gatch wines, is also teaming up to bring a gin collaboration with your fave, Prohibition. We’ve been told of a juniper-forward London dry, a citrus-forward blend, and a native, herbal-forward with locally-sourced pepper berries.
Little Bang Brewing Co. is launching their kitchen next Thursday, on the 3rd of October.
Weds & Thurs: 4pm – 10pm
Fri & Sat: 12pm – 10pm
Sun: 12pm – 6pm
Little Bang Brewing Company is located at 25 Henry Street Stepney.