Disclaimer: Winston and family dined as guests of Mr Big Stuff. All opinions are honest and based on own personal experience at the time.
In house DJ on a Saturday night... Loved the tunes that night
Triple Awesome Grape - $12.50
Martell VSOP Cognac, Cold Pressed Grape Juice, Fresh Lemon Juice & Soda
Mr Tea - $18.50
Martell VSOP Cognac, Cold Brew Peach Sencha Green Tea & Fresh Lemonade
Wicked Watermelon - $12.50
Ketel One Vodka, Cold Pressed Watermelon, Fresh Lemon Juice & Soda
Sweetbread Nuggets - $9
Lamb sweetbreads, honey & thyme glaze
Buttermilk Caesar - $12
Crispy bacon, white anchovy, buttermilk dressing
Jerk Chicken Wings - $15
Grilled, jerk marinade
Spring Bay Mussels - $30
Okra, bacon, coriander, tomato
Roasted Bone Marrow - $12
Pickles, smoked salt, sourdough
Pork Ribs - $28
Slow, bourbon BBQ sauce
Mac & Cheese (V) - $12
Apple Pie - $10
Cinnamon, spiced rum
Mr Big Stuff is a new restaurant that's just opened up in the CBD serving up Southern American or Soul food. I was contacted by the team there to come in to try out the food. Having seen some photos of the food before I went, I was quite excited to try this new form of American dining experience. Dad was in town at the time too so I am glad I got to take both him and my sister with me.
The restaurant was rather busy when we arrived. There was an in house DJ playing some classic jam, which really set the mood for a casual, relaxed evening. The cocktail menu looked really good. The drinks we had tasted as good as it sounded on the menu and priced quite fairly too IMO.
I've only had good experiences with sweetbreads in the past, which was why I was happy to see it on the menu. Sad to say, the sweetbread nuggets didn't really live up to our expectations. It was crunchy, yes. But there was a bit too much glaze on the outside which made it too sweet and the sweetbread was slightly smelly. We liked the idea behind the caesar salad but did find it to be way too salty too. Although, it did have great crunch and texture to it, which we enjoyed.
Was quite excited to try their signature jerk chicken wings too, but did feel a bit let down by how tiny the wings were. It had great spice and smokiness in the marinade but that too, was on the salty side. Again, we weren't sure about the portions of the mussels as we were quite used to getting a big pot of them, which was sort of what you'd expect for $30. That aside, the mussels were rather unfresh and stinky that evening too, borderline undercooked and slimy. It was odd, we've never had this sort of experience with mussels in the past. Always enjoying them for the plump, juiciness of the succulent flesh.
After what seemed like an underwhelming start to the meal, I am very happy to report that the second half of our meal really redeemed the evening. The marrow dish we ordered was dish of the night for me. Rich, gelatinous and melt in your mouth. It worked so well with the crusty bread, sour pickles and light scattering of salt. It was absolute perfection.
Next, the pork ribs were very, very good too. It was downright tender and falling off the bone with great bourbon flavour in the sauce, just fantastic. Although, we did find the coleslaw to be on the salty side (again). That said, it was my sister's favourite dish of the night. We placed a last minute order for the Mac & Cheese as we were still feeling a bit hungry (portions not the biggest here) and we were so glad we did. The Mac & Cheese was awesome. Clusters of crunchy topping, rich and smooth sauce, firm and el dente pasta, it put a big smile on Dad's face when he ate it. Suffice to say that this was his favourite dish of the evening. So good to eat with the housemade hot sauce too.
To finish, we had the apple pie. I liked the fact that it came in fried parcels. The pastry was light, puffy, crunchy and the cinnamon sugar was delicious. Although, we did come to a unanimous conclusion that it would've tasted so much better if there was a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream on the side.
Overall, I must say that I do like the concept behind Mr Big Stuff. It definitely is serving food that is different to everywhere else, in a relaxed and casual setting. I can definitely see myself hanging out here with friends at the end of the week over some drinks and music. Foodwise, we were off to a rough start and the portions weren't really big enough for us but hey, I must say they did make some incredible dishes too. After all, they're still a new restaurant and I completely understand if they are still experiencing some teething problems as they've just started out. I do believe that they have potential as the last few dishes we ordered were just fantastic. Starting a new restaurant is not easy and people do need to try and remember to be patient with businesses at the start.
Thanks again to the team at Mr Big Stuff, I do know how passionate you are and it does show in your food. All the best to you on as you continue to learn, find your ground in this tricky business and serve great food for people to enjoy. Cheering you on.