It hasn’t been a good 24 hours in local dining circles. Following the announcement that sustainably-minded New Normal is calling it a day, pioneering William Street craft beer restaurant and bar Baby Mammoth also announced it’ll be shutting up shop. The restaurant has been sold and will continue trading as Baby Mammoth until April 13, before being handed over to the new owners who will reopen the restaurant with a different name and concept.
Opened in 2013 by Tania and Ryan Lambson (restaurant manager and chef respectively), Baby Mammoth was part of the city’s first wave of specialist craft beer venues. In addition to helping develop – and quench – Perth’s local thirst for IPAs, sours and exotically-named beverages, the restaurant also helped popularise South African cuisine with dishes such as bunny chow (white bread filled with a Cape Malay-style curry) and kimchi seasoned with chakalaka (a Soweto-style chilli sauce), showing Perth diners there’s more to South African food than braii (barbeque). Most importantly, Baby Mammoth played a significant role in challenging the beer industry’s gender divisions.
“We’ve had women who worked on the floor that have gone on to become brewers,” says Tania. “We set to elevate beer beyond just a blokey drink and grabbing a carton or drinking pints down at the pub. I think we’ve achieved that.”
Since opening, Baby Mammoth has hosted 62 beer events as well as 68 themed Chef Labs, a chance for Ryan and the rest of the kitchen to experiment beyond the usual South African-themed menu. Fittingly, Baby Mammoth’s final event on Saturday March 23 is with WA craft beer heavyweights Feral Brewing, the same brewers it partnered with for its first event. (Tickets are still available).
While Perth beer fans have – understandably – taken the news hard, the closure is more a case of bye-for-now than goodbye forever.
“We’re going to do something down the line,” says Tania. “We’re not sure if it’s going to be a restaurant but it’s definitely going to be food and beer-related.”
Baby Mammoth closes on Saturday April 13.