Mongrel puts the deli in deliciousness with new culinary pivot
Throughout the ongoing pandemic, the state of Australia’s hospitality scene has been defined by its ability to innovate in order to survive. While restrictions are easing, our bars, cafes and restaurants aren’t out of the woods, and the next few months will be the true test for much of the industry as it further evolves to cater for fewer covers. The flavour pimps at Mongrel are no strangers to innovation, having grown from a fledgling pop-up concept to one of Brisbane’s most beloved bars. The Milton hotspot is using this opportunity to trial something new, an on-site deli hawking a selection of house-made goodies that could not only overhaul your picnic or pantry selection, but could help Mongrel survive the challenging months ahead.
When lockdowns commenced in March, venues across Brisbane reacted in a multitude of ways. Some were already well equipped to offer menus via takeaway and delivery, while others overhauled their processes to accomodate new methods of service. For the team behind Milton boozer Mongrel, they opted for caution – electing to close while the public-health emergency developed, keeping their eye on the scene and taking the time to brainstorm new ideas. In April the crew reopened for takeaway and contactless delivery, spruiking meal packs, booze and isolation party bags, but when the government announced the first stage of restrictions easing the Mongrel crew realised that reopening in a small capacity posed a few new problems. Wastage and staffing costs would prove to be a delicate juggling act, one – if incorrectly performed – could spell disaster for the business as it regained its feet. Instead of reopening as a bar and eatery like normal, the crew dipped into their bag of ideas and decided to trial a concept they’d brainstormed previously – a Mongrel-branded deli.
Last week Mongrel ceased its takeaway and delivery service, diverting all effort to its new deli operation. The team has added a shopfront and display fridge at the entrance of the venue where folks can scope out a selection of artisanal goods made in house. Products like Mongrel’s own range of pickles, kangaroo pastrami and small batches of freshly baked sourdough, cheese and charcuterie, and pasta sauces, plus batch cocktails, gin-and-tonic packs, wine and beers are available. While most of Mongrel Deli’s products are best suited for takeaway (picnics are allowed now!) the venue is open for dine-in, with the deli goods available for snacking on site. Diners can enjoy some Mongrel charcuterie on the deck, or chomp on gourmet toasties and salchipapas (Peruvian-style loaded fries, vegan-friendly and meaty versions available) from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm Wednesday to Sunday. Bookings are encouraged and can be made by messaging Mongrel on Facebook, Instagram or by email. Once Mongrel can accomodate diners in greater numbers the team will look to commence a special dinner club – a set-menu offering that will change weekly, allowing those that book the chance to experience Mongrel’s imaginative fare once more while affording the kitchen time to plan ahead to minimise waste.
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