TUCKED behind the silos of Little Creatures brewery, Creatures NextDoor is a bit fancier than its industrial brewpub neighbour.
A second-storey joint with alfresco dining overlooking the port, the setting’s so gorgeous they could’ve served us microwaved dog meat and we would’ve been happy — but thankfully the food is excellent.
I’d always assumed they served the same fare as the top-notch pub/kitchen next door, but it’s possibly more refined here.
It’s a sharey kind of menu and seeing tapas prices we were expecting tapas portions — you know, when you divvy up three olives between four people and end up getting two cheeseburgers on the way home, but thankfully the serves were generous.
We ordered four dishes for both of us, figuring we could get more if we were still hungry (we weren’t).
We started off with a simple snacky dish: the smashed avocado ($12).
Beautifully textured and on the chunkier end of the scale, it was topped with a refreshing tomato salsa and came with thick crispy corn chips for dipping.
It’s like a really, really fancy version of chip ‘n’ dips, and a nice neutral dish to go back to after some richer dishes.
The southern fried chicken ($18) had a lovely crispy skin and beautiful juicy flesh.
The tangy chipotle sauce is a tad smokey and the dish is scattered with dried chillies to cut through the deep-fried goodness (if your tastebuds are a bit too tame for the chillies, they supply a wedge of lemon).
For greens we ordered the pumpkin salad.
The two thick slabs of pumpkin roasted in honey had a nice solid consistency, and were scatted with rocket leaves and almonds.
Some salads are so ethereal it’s like eating a bowl of water, but this substantial dish is just about a meal in itself and comes in at $13 (so props to Creatures for not gouging us with full-dish prices for plants, like a lot of places do).
The corn croquettes ($14 for four) have a crispy carapace, gooey innards, and are finished with a thick dusting of mild milky manchego.
Another hearty and generously-sized dish.
As part of the Little Creatures family they’ve got all the brews from downstairs, including seasonal offerings like the White Rabbit chocolate stout.
The view at sunset is perfect — they give you blankets when it gets cold if you want to stay outside and laze on the lounges — and the $57 tab was great value.
by DAVID BELL
42 Mews Road
Monday to Sunday
12pm to late