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.
Low and Lofty’s
51a Cronulla Street, Cronulla
(02) 8544 3327
Mon to Sun 5pm–12am
Price: mains from $16