Paddington has lost a pizza joint but gained a bar.
When Sichuan Bang Bang and Pizzeria Violetta first expanded last year to open as conjoined venues in a Paddington shopfront, it felt like a slightly awkward fit. Or Violetta did, at least – planning restrictions dictated it had to double as an entryway for its buzzy sister venue.
So, owner Renata Roberts changed tack, consigning the pizzeria’s Paddington outlet to online delivery duties only and transforming its space into a sensuous, intimate watering hole, Bang Bang Bar, which opened last week.
“We wanted to give people a nicer experience when they walked into Bang Bang,” says David Wang, group general manager, who is overseeing the new venue.
The space itself is hardly recognisable. Gone are Violetta’s bright lights and crisp fit-out, replaced by velvet furnishings and lantern-style drop lights that bathe the space in luxurious red and gold accents.
Under Wang’s direction, the bar team has spent the last few months creating its own bitters and infusions in preparation for the curated cocktail menu on offer.
“[The aim was to] do something with a good Chinese influence,” Wang says.
So the cocktail list boasts creations such as the Apricot Fizz, which showcases an apricot-infused brandy matched with sparkling, house bitters and sage. Elsewhere, there are mix-and-match gin and tonic selections: guests can make their choice from an extensive range of gins, pair it with interesting flavoured tonics and finish it off with mix-ins of citrus, fruits, spices and other accompanying treats (or, of course, they can leave the decision-making to the bar staff).
The new bar bites menu leans heavily on the kinds of flavours guests have come to expect from the Sichuan team. Take the rou jia mo, a Chinese style burger: house-made buns are wood-fired and filled with your choice of Peking duck, soft shell crab, haloumi or fried tofu. A few of the smaller snack items are hearty enough to make up a full meal, while Sichuan Bang Bang’s full dinner menu is also available.
And yes, you can still order Violetta’s pizzas over the bar.
Bang Bang Bar
167 Given Terrace, Paddington
(07) 3369 1311
Tue to Sun 5pm–late