If you see someone busily putting compost on street gardens late at night in Prahran, it might just be Ingrid Langtry of Ladro TAP spreading a bit of community spirit.
The Greville St venue opened its doors in 2010 and has embraced sustainability in every aspect of the business, from keeping a tap-only beverage list, to their closed loop recycling system that breaks down the venue’s waste into compost every night.
It’s a philosophy that brings an extra level of community connection to the Prahran venue, with their compost shared to community gardens, schools and farmers – as well as the occasional leftover bags distributed to planters in need on Ingrid’s walk home.
Ingrid and her husband and co-owner Sean Kierce set up the Prahran venue in 2010 as a complement to their much-loved Fitzroy restaurant, with the intention of amping up their sustainability measures and putting more emphasis on the tap list.
That decision led them to install the closed loop recycling system, ensure all packaging is biodegradable and cut out bottled products entirely. Their rooftop apiary – home to around 20,000 honey bees – also produces honey for the venue, averaging a kilogram a week for Ladro’s use. Such are their efforts that the venue is now highlighted by the local council of Stonnington as a case study in sustainability.
The success of their eco-friendly business model can be measured in the strangest of ways: customers will call up to order a takeaway pizza and a bag of compost, or leave seedlings at the front door when their composting efforts proves fruitful – a level of community connection few restaurants could claim.
Their focus on tap-only beverages led the pair to rebrand the restaurant as Ladro TAP in the middle of 2015 and the gamble has paid off, with a significant change in clientele as people keen to explore the beer and wine offerings flood in for lunch, dinner or drinks.
Seven taps are allocated to kegged wine and mineral water, with more again dedicated to beer. Peroni may get a look in thanks to the kitchen’s Italian style menu, but elsewhere the taps are packed with craft beer; on any one visit you’ll be able to grab a glass of La Sirene, Barrow Boys or or Hawkers, or international brews such as Italy’s Birradamare.
For Ingrid and Sean, it is important to maintain a tap list that has something for everyone, whether they be a self-titled beer geek, non-beer drinker, or somewhere in between. They rotate regularly depending on what captures the couple's interest, and monthly Beergustation dinners bring in guests from Australian breweries for beer and food matching evenings.
Woodfired pizzas and dishes such as salumi bring the TAP venue back to its Italian roots, but the addition of spit roasted pork on Fridays and a more casual eating area allows the Prahran restaurant to build its own identity away from its Fitzroy sister.
In time, Ladro TAP’s menu will make beer and food pairing recommendations and plans are afoot to work more closely with neighbouring restaurants on community initiatives. For now, you can settle in at the bar for a pot of craft beer while you wait for your takeaway pizza – and bag of compost, of course.