*Note: Biggie Smalls Collingwood has closed down. The space is now home to Maha Bar, also by Shane Delia. The Biggie Smalls food truck is, however, still roaming the streets of Melbourne.*
MELBOURNE | Diners in Melbourne are always wanting to know who’s hot, who not and Biggie Smalls Kbabs Collingwood, the newest kebab shop to hit Melbourne is definitely the former. For the best part of 20 years it was all a dream until owner Shane Delia was finally able to turn his idea into reality. Delia is in the limelight because he cooks right, and has won awards for his inspired Middle Eastern cooking as well as being known as the host of SBS’ Spice Journey. He never knew he’d take it this far, so why “downgrade” to kebabs?
Well these aren’t your standard kebabs, and this isn’t your standard kebab shop. We all know about George Kalombaris’ “fancy” souvlakis at Hellenic Republic, Gazi and Jimmy Grant’s and that’s pretty much the deal at Biggie Smalls. Delia thinks that the stereotype of the kebab is misunderstood so has come up with a range of not so traditional flavours, using quality ingredients to hypnotise your taste buds. When shit is real and hungry’s how you feel, Biggie Smalls has what you need. The East Coast for example contains fried shrimp with harissa, almond hummus, mint and pickled radish, the Juicy, which I tried, has beef kefta, onion, cumin, hummus herbs pickles and onion. The intriguing Dirty South contains fried chicken, pumpkin pie hummus, herbs, pickles and onion. Very tasty and not your traditional kebabs – just be aware that these things are small, so you’ll want to be sharing 3 between 2 people.
Alternatively you could go for some sides or dessert. On the sides front at the launch it was the chips that had everyone screaming aiy papi – the preserved lemon and spice butter really make them unlike any chips you’ve eaten before.
Beer and soft drink is in cans and despite Biggie Smalls being a Brooklyn hip-hop tribute that doesn’t mean Delia isn’t givin’ L.A. props – there’s also gin and juice on the drinks list.
As you’ve probably guessed from the name of the place, Delia is a huge Biggie fan (he even had license plates that read “BGPOPA” at one stage) so combining a tribute to Biggie Smalls with his love of kebabs made a lot of sense to him. I guess Notorious B.I.G. and Christopher George Latore Wallace didn’t have the same ring to them. Unsurprisingly, you’ll find yourself knee deep in the beats when you enter the doors of Biggie Smalls, with the rather impressive sound system pumping out classic 90s hip-hop and R&B tunes. At the launch it was T-Roy on the decks making sure our ears were well catered to with tunes from hit makers with acres. On more than one occasion during the night I wanted to rock grooves and make moves, but unfortunately there’s no dance floor.
I remember when I was just like you, thinking that kebabs were just a late night dirty food option, but things done changed and Biggie Smalls is here to convince you to get a grip and give kebabs one more chance.
Oh and for those who are curious, there are 16 references to Biggie lyrics in this review. Did you find them all?
Biggie Smalls Kbabs
86 Smith Street
Telephone: (03) 9417 3531
Sun – Wed: 11:00am to 10:00pm
Thu – Sat: 11:00am to 1:00am