Big Poppa’s

Mates Lewis Jaffrey (ex-Shady Pines, The Baxter Inn) and Jared Merlino (Lobo Plantation) were spending too much on cheese. Every time they hung out, they’d find themselves sitting around eating, wine glasses in hand and hip-hop on the stereo.

They opened Big Poppa’s in 2016 – in part for better access to cheap cheese. The main menu has about a dozen dinner options. More than half contain cheese, but none of them are cheese platters – there’s a separate menu for that.

Upstairs is a mostly Italian restaurant, with a classic black-and-white look and a few Chianti bottles around for character. Downstairs has more of a cocktail-bar vibe, enhanced by dim lighting, leather booths and velvety carpet.

Cocktails might include a California Love Club that combines gin with quandong, fingerlime, desert spice and egg whites. Amazingly, the cocktails and Big Poppa’s multinational wine list can be consumed (with or without food) until 3am.

But eating is a good idea. Half chicken is served with celeriac puree, chickpeas, sweet-and-sour onions and lemon; and hand-cut pappardelle is flavoured with lamb shoulder ragu.

Fair warning: you’d better like hip-hop. That’s mostly all that plays at Big Poppa’s, which is named after The Notorious B.I.G. track of the same name.

A recipe from Big Poppa's is featured in The Broadsheet Italian Cookbook. Buy your copy at

Updated: March 24th, 2022

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