When Ban Ban opened on Franklin Street last year the crowds flocked. Owners Darren Song and Ernest Koong were forced to turn people away in the first few days after demand surpassed supply. For months patrons queued to get their hands on the winning combo of crunchy fried chicken and cold, crisp beer.
Now Song and Koong are getting ready to open another chimaek joint, right in the centre of the CBD. It’s welcome news. Located in the new food hub of the recently renovated Rundle Mall Plaza, the smaller sibling – suitably named Little Ban Ban – will cater to the lunch crowd with a truncated menu of grab-and-go options.
“We wanted to do something different, a little more fast food-ish, food [court] style,” says Song. “It’s a new market: Rundle Mall patrons are different to our customers on Franklin Street.”
The original diner, set back from the bustle of the CBD, is more of a destination spot and mostly limited to dinner trade. The new shop will cater to time-poor city workers, and provide a pretty good argument against that homemade salad you brought in for lunch.
The menu is designed to get people in and out quickly. Where Ban Ban’s SA-grown bird is fried whole, bone-in, and cut to serve, Little Ban Ban will stick to wings and drumsticks. “A whole chicken takes longer to cook, and we can’t do that during [the day] – you don’t want to be waiting 15 to 20 minutes for your lunch,” says Song.
Ban Ban’s popular starters and sides, including umami fries (with teriyaki sauce and bonito flakes) and Panko-crumbed Spam fries, will carry over, as will the vegan “chicken” (made from Seitan). There’ll also be “lunchbox-style” takeaway packs with rice, coleslaw and a cut of fried chook served with your choice of sauce. Make it a boozy lunch and add a tap beer, soju or makgeolli (a lightly sparkling traditional rice wine).
The new shop will also introduce self-serve soft serve (think matcha and rotating fruit-based flavours).
Genesin Studio's playful, modern design will carry over to the new site, albeit with a new colour scheme. Expect bright-pink stools and white, custom-made D-tiles.
Little Ban Ban is expected to open on Monday March 4 on level one of Rundle Mall Plaza.