Little Valley has launched its spring menu. Co-owner David Flynn reckons the new dishes, announced late last month, amount to the most significant overhaul of the Fortitude Valley Chinese restaurant’s food since it launched in July last year.
The new menu includes quail lap cheong (Cantonese sausage) with Chinese Branston pickle, king prawns served with whipped tofu and “grandma” (mapo) sauce, and beef flank with tamari [wheat-free soy sauce] koji and Sichuan mustard.
“I think the menu has gotten more boundary pushing but also more crowd-pleasing at the same time,” Flynn says. “The quail lap cheong is not something we would have put on at the very beginning. It’s one of the dishes that seems a bit outlandish but is actually more accessible.”
Chilli has become a big focus for Little Valley head chef Jake Pregnell and sous chef Simon Hanmer, with dishes such as pork hot pot xiao long bao and roasted pork shoulder served with hot pot and fermented greens packing more heat than you’re perhaps used to at other eateries around town.
Flynn says that, since opening, Little Valley has built a rapport with punters that has given Pregnell and Hanmer licence to start pushing their food in different directions. But the new menu is also the result of ideas developed during the restaurant’s regular Collab events, and through the rebooting of Pregnell and Hanmer’s working relationship (Hanmer joined Little Valley in February this year, having previously helped Pregnell open the enormously popular Rick Shores in Burleigh Heads).
“One hundred percent,” Flynn says. “Each menu iteration that’s happened since Simon came on board has been more of a Simon and Jake effort. They’re very familiar with each other. The whole with them together is much bigger than the sum of their parts.”