She Bangs is a BANG ON name for this little gem of a cafe/restaurant, just five and a half weeks old (opened 11 April)! Hidden yet 'shouting out loud', it stands at 69 Bangs Street, Prahran (03) 9529 6981. Open 7 days a week from 7am (8am on weekends) it runs through till late afternoon around 4pm.
Check their Facebook page if you're planning on heading out there late afternoon, as I've noticed, some days the opening hours only go to 3pm.
The first thing you notice on the outside as you approach, is that the whole building is graffitied, colourful and bursting with art. Wait till you get inside! If you have a creative bone in your body, your mind will EXPLODE! The walls are covered with creativity. There's so much everywhere, yet perfectly at home. The biggest problem you might have is wondering where the loo is. Its doors covered in art, it doesn't register easily while your mind is still popping and bathing in colours.
I was lucky enough to catch Sophie the owner, to have a chat with her. An elite sports person and coming from the Health Industry, one might wonder how she came about creating such an amazing space. Having always been involved in the art scene, she tells me 'it organically grew to this'. Her husband is very much in the graffiti scene and every week, there's something new happening on the walls of She Bangs, so be sure to check it out. It also helps that right next door, they own an 'everything you need for graffiti' supply store 'The Bench' - Cornerstone Arts; so take note all you graffiti artists out there!
Sophie is passionate about inspiring people through activity. She believes art connects us all and wanted to create a space that starts the conversation and gets people talking. She wants to create a welcoming space for a mix of young and old to gather and for the place to have a real community spirit where everyone wants to 'hang' (hangout). She wants to bring back culture! In fact, there's a lot Sophie wants for this wonderful space; watch out!
I found the easiest way for me to get to She Bangs was to walk straight down King street which is off Chapel street, till you come upon She Bangs.
Let's talk food and drink. She Bangs Head Chef Joel Hales has an illustrious background working at places like Kettle Black and Proud Mary. Following the ethos of using local produce, keeping it 'refined-sugar free' and organic, making everything from scratch, including the almond milk, the adage here is that food is medicine.
On the menu, you'll find drinks like Unfknstopable! which is a double shot, organic coconut oil, grass fed butter... do it! coffee kaleidoscope. You can also get teas that are a tumeric blend in Soph's secret brew, plus the usual suspects like juices and smooth moves (smoothies) and sparkles (for squeaky clean deep cleansing drinks); with house made raw activated almond, cashew and coconut milk options as appropriate.
For food you have 'Greens & Grains from the Gods' which has vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options. Does Kailash sound awesome to you? - with roasted cauliflower hummus, pickled cauliflower, beetroot labna, sprouts, kale crisps and activated buckwheat. You can add egg or King Salmon to it as well if you wish.
I chose Forever Young from 'All the Fun of the Fair' section and it came with beetroot cured and smoked King Ora Salmon, edamame smash, puffed wild rice, picked beetroot and seaweed emulsion. The dressing and the meal was delicious and everything was so fresh in my mouth. Don't worry, there's enough there for the meat-eaters too, like The Last Samurai which is a Wagyu burger, cheese, sweet onions, house mustard, B&B pickles and purple potato crisps with options for bacon and ketchup.
You can also do it simple like scrambled, poached or fried free range eggs on toast of choice for a mere $10.50, plus other 'sides' to add to it if you wish. Meals range from $12 to $21. There's also a couple of $9 meals for the little people like eggs any which way on sourdough with bacon; and blueberry coconut buckwheat hotcakes with maple syrup.
In closing, do check out the food, the artwork, and their graffiti art supply store The Bench at 46 King st, Prahran (it is literally next to the cafe and you can walk through from one establishment to the other); operating11am-6pm. They're not just an art supply store but run workshops and lessons, with a list of graffiti artists whom you might like to have, do a custom artwork or mural for you.
At around $75 an hour with artwork running usually 3.5 hours, it makes it very affordable for a unique piece of graffiti art on your walls. The classes they run are around $30 per person or 10 classes for $250 with no bookings needed. Check out the Facebook page for updates.
This is definitely a place you can hang with friends all day, attended by friendly staff, watching the artwork happening on the wall, enjoying chatter, laughter and good food and even meeting the graffiti artists themselves if you're there at the time they're working on the walls.
I was lucky enough to watch a couple of them working on the current piece. I also met a couple more artists (see pic above) just sitting and enjoying some food. Mikey-XXi (Instagram: #mikeyxxi) had a mural he painted adorning one wall (hidden by the bamboo plants in the pic); with his mate from Brisbane (#luckylucks).