Best known as the presenter of the successful television series Shane Delia’s Spice Journey and head chef and owner of Maha, Shane Delia’s newest take on Moorish flavours come in the form of the Biggie Smalls ‘kbab’. Anything but a traditional kebab, Biggie’s creations are uncomplicated in ingredients but huge on flavour.
Unlike fellow celebrity chef George Calombaris — whose take on the souva is a true-to-form effigy of the dish, served as it is on the streets of Glyfada, and in tavernas from Naxos to Ios — Delia’s kbab instead takes aim at something a little more experimental.
Traditionalists could claim that the food served at Biggie’s aren’t kebabs at all — but that’s not to say the food is inauthentic. It’s fun. A kebab can only be made using certain types of meat and with a specific meat to fat ratio. Preparation is crucial, both of the meat and the coals. But Biggie Smalls is not exactly an homage to the humble kebab, but rather a fusion of intense worldly flavours, wrapped in a distinctively Turkic styling.
The difference is immediate as you choose between old skool (garlic and mint) and new school (kewpie mayo) sauce. Smoked hummus and pickled vegetables are the core of the dish and make way for everything from fried chicken to maple-glazed pulled pork and crackling. However, Biggie still plays the hits; beef kofta, falafel and lamb varieties are all still present on the menu ($9.50-14).
It’s no secret that Delia’s Maltese heritage and love for Turkic and North African cuisine have influenced Biggie’s menu, not to mention a fascination with the notorious rapper the venue is named and themed on. The eclectic mix fits the vibe surrounding 86 Smith Street and with a boozy drinks menu — which includes Brooklyn Lager ($10), a bourbon-spiked milkshake ($12) and even gin and juice ($10) — Biggie is a surefire start (or finish) to an evening.
For parents, it’s worth noting that this isn’t your typical 4am Collingwood kebab shop. There is a kids pack available and it’s an altogether casual, sit down kind of vibe. With an ordering app already available (from both the App Store and Google Play), you get the feeling that Biggie Smalls is just the start of something bigger for Delia.
Words by Lewis Fischer
Picture by Concrete Playground
Originally posted on Concrete Playground 21 April 2016