Known for his high-end Middle Eastern restaurant Maha, acclaimed Melbourne chef Shane Delia has opened a second venue, the Biggie Smalls, designed by Technē Architecture and Interior Design. Located on Collingwood’s Smith Street, Biggie Smalls—an ode to Brooklyn cult rapper Christopher Wallace aka The Notorious B.I.G.—combines two of Delia’s personal passions: kebabs and hip-hop.
The brief provided to Technē Architecture and Interior Design was to create a space inspired by the streets of Brooklyn where rapper Wallace grew up, and complemented the laidback approach to food.
“We wanted to create a space that captured the spirit of 80s and 90s NYC and would become a relevant part of the local social fabric,” Technē Lead Interior Designer, Kate Archibald.
Referencing the classic New York diner, Technē has formed a material palette of stainless steel, vinyl, coloured tiles and timber laminate. Colour wise, booths upholstered in yellow with black and white-chequered trim conjure instant visions of New York’s iconic taxi fleet. Overhead chrome luggage racks appear lifted straight from the city’s subway cars.
With five booths seating groups of four, and stools lining a continuous bar that curves from point-of-sale across to the street facing window, the 85 square metre space seats 35 patrons. “We wanted to create a New York diner meets locals-only neighbourhood bar,” Archibald says.
Technē commissioned local graffiti artist Jimmy B of GraffixCreative to produce artwork that adorns the underside of the canopy and façade. With the addition of a pair of vintage speakers that have been owned by Delia’s dad for 35 years, Technē has created a space that feels ready to be lived in and worn out.
Although the design and soundtrack is distinctly New York, the menu carries several influences of Delia’s Middle Eastern heritage. “The world doesn’t really need another traditional kebab joint, but there’s nothing traditional about Biggie Smalls,” Delia says.
Items include kebabs with harissa, smoked hummus and almond mayo and chips served with preserved lemon and spiced butter. “I wanted somewhere with a something better than Carlton Draught on tap, no cheesy hip hop paraphernalia and a menu that’s in keeping with Melbourne’s world-class dining scene,” Delia says.
all images courtesy of Technē Architecture and Interior Design