Low and Lofty’s serves a big plate of ribs. Whatever they’re ordered with – brisket, burgers, chips or slaw – everything looks tiny in comparison. They’re soft as mango cheeks from nine hours of smoking. Don’t try and stay clean eating them – that inch-think layer of barbecue sauce is for your hands and face.
Smoking is just one of the things Low and Lofty’s does. It’s a mix of Texan slow-cooked meats and Caribbean food and culture. “It's a bit of an interesting fusion. There are a lot of things to play with,” says co-owner, Steve Lyon. Low and Lofty’s is his and Trent Roberts’s first independent venture; before this Lyon was at Merivale and Trent at the Bavarian Bier Cafe.
The upstairs bar has tropical-palm wallpaper, there’s an arcade section with two pinball machines with impossibly high scores, and the bar is dotted with colourful cocktails.
The Texan-Caribbean menu by chef Doug Opai has borrowed from places all over the world. There are smoked-goat kebabs; a bucket of karage-like fried chicken; and sing joy pow, a Caribbean-inspired san choy bau with spiced quinoa and either pulled pork, jerk chicken or a slab of haloumi. There’ll also soon be non-traditional ramen the boys plan to call “ya-man”.
The drinks match the venue – fruity, bright and tropical. “They're fun, we're not taking ourselves too seriously. There's not a lot of old-fashioned drinkers around anymore,” says Lyon. There is an Old Fashioned though, with a smoked maple syrup.
In the mornings while the bar’s closed there’s a cart with local coffee man Jack Stratton brewing Will and Co. and serving bagels (soon to be homemade by Low and Lofty’s). "We're going to do a breakfast bagel with jack cheese, rib sauce, egg and bacon. We’ll press it and serve it hot,” says Roberts.