First they conquered the Gold Coast, now they’ve set their sights on Warner Street in Fortitude Valley.
On Friday, the team behind Rick Shores will unveil Little Valley – a self-proclaimed “neo-Chinese” dining hall and the newest addition to its hospitality group. Co-owners David Flynn, Frank Li, Nick Woodward and Andrew Hohns have taken Rick Shores’ head chef, Jake Pregnell, and slotted him in at the helm of their new venture.
In a similar way to how the team fine-tuned Shores for the Gold Coast’s laid-back demeanour, Little Valley aims to mimic the manic streets of Hong Kong. The first thing you notice walking in is a custom lighting structure on the ceiling designed to imitate bamboo scaffolding. Otherwise, the venue has a dash of old-world charm courtesy of the century-old building, with broad windows allowing plenty of light into the space.
“There's a lot of heritage in the building that people aren't aware of,” Flynn says. “We really wanted to highlight that in the offering and pay homage to it.”
This being a Queensland venue there’s also a semi open-air back courtyard featuring a dim sum menu. “It’s a multi-faceted approach,” Flynn says. “There aren’t too many restaurants in Brisbane that can offer a full dining experience and then have a fun bar area as well as an outdoor space.”
The team took turns jetting over to various regions in China to seek inspiration. Provinces that particularly influenced the menu were Guangdong, Shandong, Hunan and Yunnan. It also helps that Chinese cuisine happens to be a favourite of Pregnell, who has created the final menu in six sections: raw bar, cold cuts, rice, meats, wok and dim sum. A potato-and-truffle spring roll looks likely to become the Rick Shores bug roll of Brisbane.
The drinks list features plenty of pinot noir and an extensive selection of varietals such as riesling, which match well with Asian cuisine. The cocktail menu will include a good mix of classics and twists.
After decades of neglect, Little Valley helps to further activate the block between Warner and Brunswick streets, joining Blute’s Bar, Lucky Egg, Nom Nom Valley and a soon-to-open live music venue from the owners of The Triffid.