By Trevor Pepys
Trevor Pepys reviews Bang Bang Noosa
Trev normally gives so-called “event” restaurants a very wide berth – not as wide as restaurants in the sky that revolve, but pretty wide.
And not that event restaurants call themselves that, which would mean that they really weren’t, they were just wannabes. But here’s how to spot an event restaurant: they open, they’re full. Getting a table is like winning Lotto, except in reverse. And if they’re really an event, they won’t have anything as naf as a nameplate, neon or otherwise. If you know, you know. If you don’t, they don’t want you.
So when the former neighbours, with whom we enjoy a regular repast, texted Trev the news that Bang Bang was the venue, the BS detector went into overdrive. Wasn’t this the sister establishment to the wildly successful Byron Bay Bang Bang, opened at the start of January and Covid-full every night since? And didn’t this represent a triumphant homecoming for founder Zac Simmons, he of Belongil Treehouse fame, now striving to emulate his dad’s domination of the Noosa wedding breakfast market?
Well, yes and yes. “What magical powers are you going to use to get a table?” Trev texted back. We were out, and then we were in, although at what seemed like mid-afternoon, but we were in!
Now Trev is old enough to remember when Mexican Mick’s was the only place you could get a decent feed in the Bay, but how things have changed. Now they’re exporting restaurants over the border! But, like Light Years before it, Bang Bang is a concept worth receiving, and it has to be said that the Noosa version is quite spectacular from the moment you walk in. Lots of exotic lighting dangling from a high roof and illuminating a large room and a large bar, all fringed by greenery. Very Far East, which is also the inspiration for the fusion menu.
And this, too, is very clever – big bangs, little bangs, a sensibly short list of tapas and mains, presented with a dash of humour and whimsy. The wine list, on the other hand, somewhat wiped the smile off Trev’s dial, but the food prices were modest enough to take the edge off.We were seated at a cosy table surrounded by hordes of what looked like happy Melbourne trendies avoiding the five-day lockdown, but some of whom were just the Tourism Noosa head party people, entertaining visiting TV stars. Ah yes, Bang Bang is an event event.
Our waitress brought us complimentary sparkling water while we surveyed the menu and list, and ordered the Spring Hill Eden Valley pinot gris ($45) and the Peppoli Sangiovese chianti ($68) to be going on with. The over-priced pinot quaffer was fair enough, but the chianti was worth every extra buck paid for the palate points, smooth as silk.
It being a sharing kind of menu, we started with a couple little bangs, the inaccurately-named kingfish sashimi with coconut, kaffir lime and mango ($22) – when are the menu writers of Noosa going to listen to Trevor? Sashimi is raw fish served with soy sauce and wasabi paste. If you marinate it with citrus it’s ceviche! – and the Korean fried chicken with sweet sticky sauce, sesame and kewpie mayo ($17). The ceviche was tiny but tasty, the fried chicken, which could have been a bit Colonel Sanders, was delicious, crunchy, spicy and succulent inside.
Next we shared a wok-tossed Pad Thai chicken with peanuts, burnt chilli and sweet tamarind sauce ($26), a dry red curry of crispy fried barramundi with spicy red curry paste, krachai, kaffir lime and basil ($34), and the braised beef Massaman ($34), which was a wagyu brisket in a rich, creamy coconut curry with kipfler potatoes, caramelised shallots and peanuts. An extra coconut rice ($4.50) and a Som Tum green papaya salad with cherry tomatoes ($12) saw us out.
The Pad Thai was as good as they come, attested to by all four diners. The Massaman beef, which Trev was particularly looking forward to, was unfortunately just a tad over-cooked, and by the neighbours’ reckoning, somewhat overwhelmed by the powerful sauce. The dry red curry barramundi was, by unanimous vote, the star of the show, dry but not too dry, sweet and sour and very, very tasty.
No room for dessert, done and dusted.
The verdict: A cocktail to start (and the list is enticing) and a decent bottle of wine and you’re looking down the barrel of $150 a head minimum, but if food is the focus with just a glass of wine or two, Bang Bang is not super-expensive by Hastings Street standards. And it’s good, damn good. Make it an event. Trev intends to.
Bang Bang Noosa 32 Hastings Street (at The Sebel), phone 0411 922 115