The Mulberry Group strikes again with a flagship bistro and bar for Abbotsford.

Pork neck skewers with date purée. Fresh casarecce with fermented tomato and goat’s cheese. Thumping O’Connor rib-eyes and a scientifically engineered potato rösti. From the good people who brought you Hazel, Dessous, and some of the city’s best brunching comes Molli: a brand-new bistro and bar, and a boon for the savvy dining public of Abbotsford. It’s a place to meet, lounge and linger, and it’s open for your discovery right now. Here’s chef Aleksis Kalnins with the skinny on everything you need to eat and drink there – beurre noisette-washed whiskey cocktails and all.

How about a drink?
I love drinks boss Kayla Saito’s nitro coffee cocktail, the Bullet Proof. It’s got beurre noisette-washed Gospel Solera rye, Grada coffee liqueur, cold brew from Square One Coffee Roasters – loads of delicious stuff. And it’s on tap.

Where’s the best spot in the house?
At the kitchen bar. You feel like you’re in amongst the action. You can look right into the open kitchen and see the flames and smoke coming out of the Josper. It’s impressive. We’ve kitted the kitchen out with the best equipment so we can make honest food in the best way possible; it reminds me of the neighbourhood bistros in the Basque Country.

How does this here menu work? What’s the best way to crack in?
It’s a one-size-fits-all menu, so you can have a few little snacky things at the bar, a three-course meal, or go for a banquet menu at the communal tables. The best way to experience everything Molli has to offer is definitely the chef’s menu.

I’m here for a good time not a long time.
For a quick snack, I say the pork neck skewer with date purée because it’s goddamn delicious. Or the seaweed crackers and mushroom ketchup. To drink with it, the Ephemera vermentino: skin contact, aromatic, fresh, high acid.

Got anything light and fresh?
The casarecce with fermented tomato. We make fresh pasta every day. We took 200kg of tomatoes when they were in season, blended them, and basically made and stored fermented tomato passata. It’s finished with grated chevrano: an aged hard goat’s cheese.

What if I like tasty food but don’t eat animals?
For a snack, the seaweed cracker is vegan, and the flatbread and shallot custard is vegetarian. The eggplant is a really satisfying larger dish that’s wholly vegan: it’s smoked over cherry wood and served with our own chickpea miso. And one of our freshly made seasonal pastas will always be vegetarian.

Name the dish that captures the Molli vibe.
The potato rösti. Simple on the outside, delicious and technical on the inside. We temper the potatoes, cooking them for 45 minutes at 72 degrees. Then we make a sour cream mix that stays stable on the hot surface of the rösti. Then we fry up the rösti, pipe on the sour cream and cover it all in chives.

I love röstis, but I find they’re often underwhelming, so I fixed them. It took about 14 different tries, but when I got it right it was the perfect mix of textures and temperature: crisp edges and soft potato, and a sour cream that stays thick and rich instead of melting in the heat.

I’m feeling famished and dangerous. What have you got for me?
Easy, the 1kg O’Connor premium rib-eye, cooked on the Josper and finished with rocoto pepper sauce – absolutely stunning. Have it with the rösti or the celeriac gratin. The rib-eye feeds about four people, but I’ve seen people share it between two.

And to close?
Sticky date pudding. It’s my mother’s favourite dessert, that’s why it’s on the menu. Have it with a glass of ruby port. Beautiful, yum. Dates and port, hello.

Molli, 20 Mollison St, Abbotsford, open 5pm-11pm Wed, noon-11pm Thu-Sat, 11.30am-5pm Sun, @molli.abbotsford,