“Flagship stores like Smith Street and Chapel Street can’t be cookie cutter. You need to build a venue for the area,” says Delia. “I feel like right now we’ve got the food bang on – so the improvements had to come from the experience and beverages.”
That’s why the Windsor incarnation is focusing on the drinks and tunes as much as the kebabs.
“Biggie Smalls is more than what we’ve done on Smith Street,” he says. “Hip-hop culture is synonymous with good drinks, good times and good beats, and I wanted to try something different.”
That shift is reflected as much in the fit-out as in the cocktail list, for which Delia has partnered with Four Pillars to create seasonal gins especially for Biggie Smalls. In spring, your Negroni will be made with gin infused with pomegranate, cloudy apple and spiced syrup. Beers on tap are by Brick Lane Brewing Co and there’s also a small selection of cans.
While the music’s been turned up, design firm Technē has turned the colour palette down. Where Smith Street’s walls are bright and yellow-tiled, Windsor’s are moody and dark green.
The space used to be a picture-framing shop, and that’s acknowledged with 35-millimetre snapshots of life in ’90s New York set in opulent gold-leaf frames. The decor is rounded out with wood furnishings, brass finishes and a black-and-white checked floor.
The kebab menu is largely unchanged, with a couple of additions. The ODB is a new off-menu wrap exclusive to Windsor, packed with shrimp shu mai, fried prawns and pickled ginger slaw, slathered with hoisin mayo and chilli jam.
Delia was 28 when he opened his first restaurant, Maha, but he says that even now, after more than a decade, openings remain just as challenging.
“They never go easier – I think when they go easier you stop caring, and maybe you should check yourself,” says Delia. “I love it. It’s my life, I’ve been cooking since I was 15.”
Biggie Smalls Windsor
36 Chapel Street, Windsor
(03) 9417 3531
Mon to Thu 11.30am–10pm
Fri to Sun 11.30am–late