Mini review in three words: Bang was fab!
Reasons include: interesting and extremely tasty food (most important); friendly & helpful staff (bonus: all wearing tiger T-shirts); lovely Laguïole cutlery and awesome lettered plates (spelling out BANG, natch).
The drink options are plentiful and fun, but the wines are all Portuguese, which is great if you know anything about Portuguese wines, which I don’t. Rasta had a Mango Bazar – a dangerous rum-spiked lassi decorated with cardamom seeds – and I had a glass of “Whichever of these Portuguese whites tastes the least like an Aussie/NZ sav blanc (i.e. save the fruit for the lassi)”. I don’t know which of the two by-the-glass choices it was, but it was memorably described on the menu as having “seaside minerality”, which sounded good, and was perfectly drinkable.
We’d already been drinking delicious Mandoleto nero d’avola at the Golden Age Cinema (whilst watching the brilliant Big Eyes – highly recommended) so we limited ourselves at Bang, but the cocktail list looks fantastic and you could easily pop in for a few boozy creations plus an economical round of not-your-usual bar snacks. The small dishes are all $10 or under.
The menu is a delight for vegetarians, seafood lovers and red meat fans. No pork, obviously, in Bangladeshi cuisine; and no chicken dishes on the menu either – though I did spy tandoori quail. We ended up going fully vego to cater for Rasta’s and my various dietary idiosyncrasies, and the options did not disappoint. Everything was fresh, flavoursome, crunchy, spicy, veggie-packed and vaguely virtuous! It also meant we could try more of the excellent snacky food things without having to save room for heavier mains.
We started with Dal puri (fried mini roti filed with spiced lentils, with a yoghurty dipping sauce we swore had wasabi in it) and Fuska (crispy puffballs filled with spiced potato and topped with coriander, green chilli and shaved egg, with a vase of sour-sweet tamarind water to pour over before gobbling up). Both interesting and delicious – which was basically theme of our whole meal.
We had a third plate of crispy street snacks, the BANG Bhaji: fried fritters of kale (of course: Surry Hills) with a terrific cherry tomato & coconut chutney. We didn’t have a proper main, but after all these fried things we were more than happy just with a sack of naan bread and the phenomenal Pomelo salad with kheera cucumbers, snake beans, grapes, black chickpeas & spiced almonds. The little grains which look like rice are actually from the flesh of the grapefruit-like pomelo, native to south and southeast Asia. This exceptional salad is not to be missed.
The pricing was reasonable and they do a banquet for $55/head, which sounds pretty perfect. I am keen to explore the cocktails and the seafood side of things.
But the best thing about eating fairly lightly was that we could still fit in another wine at Mille Vini plus pudding Gelato Messina to round things off. The puddings at Bang were certainly enticing (mango & pistachio kulfi and a drunken doughnut with caramelised peaches) but it is not possible for me to be within 100 metres of a Messina shop and pass by without collecting scoops!
I had two of the ever-fabulous weekly specials, the Jus Sayin’ (orange marmalade & salted caramel gelato with shards of dark chocolate – much sophistication) and the Knights of Nepal (mango & yoghurt gelato with cardamom & rosewater cake – a frozen lassi with added cake, yes please). The latter was a particularly justified purchase because all proceeds are going to assist the Nepal earthquake appeal. Get it while you can!