Last night my mind was blown. Ding Dong Lounge, the live music venue where I spent every Friday and Saturday night at since the age I could legally drink, has had a facelift and opened a restaurant offering Lousianna inspired food. And it is damn good!
The interior splits the venue in two, with Girl With Gris Gris taking up the first half as you enter up the stairs. It is decked out in leather booths for intimate group dining and perfectly sized tables for two or more with warm, low hanging lighting.
The menu here is interesting and exciting as everything here is made with love – and it shows.
“One time [head chef] Chris Weysham was upset about something and refused to make the gumbo; ‘you can’t cook gumbo when you’re mad! It needs to be made with love!’,” laughed the wonderfully helpful British waitress who was hosting us for the night.
The menu is really something, with things that you might read and dismiss turning out to be pretty amazing. Take, for example, the Chargrilled with lemon garlic butter oysters. Sounds okay, right? Wrong. They’re amazing. The combination of oysters and burned butter is so heavenly; so right and works so well with a hint of lemon that brings out the freshness of the seafood.
The Cochon (think pulled pork, jalapeno corn bread, crackling and pickles) is another example of foods heaven: dished out in a much more sophisticated manner than I was ever expecting. This dish had beautiful layers of textures from the crackling and the dense, but easy to eat corn bread. Delicious!
The gumbo is also worth a special mention. The use of cajun added a real peppery taste to the dish, which was unexpected to me, as the gumbo I’ve had in the past had always been South African style (more savory in nature).
The point is, Girl With Gris Gris is delicious and absolutely worth a visit. It is a transformation of the Ding Dong Lounge venue, taking it in a new direction that caters for a broader audience. Most importantly, the change has been exceptionally managed and the new food service has been effortlessly incorporated. So what are you waiting for? Grab your best bud and head over there for some Creola and Cajan food now!
Tuesday – Sunday: 5:30pm – 10pm