MR BIG STUFF

16 Meyers Pl
Melbourne, VIC 3000
http://www.mrbigstuff.com.au/
Though soul food isn’t known for its health benefits, I am entirely convinced that an occasional meal of soul food is, as its name suggests, good for the soul. In a lifestyle that is often heavy on the stress and light on the self-pampering, I dare you to find a more agreeable moment than one where fried chicken is involved. And whilst the name Mr Big Stuff was an unwelcome reminder of just exactly what I would look like if my diet consisted of more than the occasional rack of ribs, the lure of traditional African-American food on a Friday afternoon was too good to resist.

Though not generous on space, Mr Big Stuff has managed to nab themselves a very fashionable spot in the CBD, and decked out the interior to match. Topping off the warm and spontaneous vibe was an in-house DJ, mixing up tunes that matched his kick-ass dreadlocks. 

Egg Cream ($8.5, non-alcoholic)/Wicked Watermelon Kool-Aid ($8.5, non-alcoholic)
I was sold from the first page of the drinks menu, where an amazing selection of traditional beverages that can all be made with or without alcohol beckoned. From the dozens of iced teas and kool-aids, I eventually decided on the Wicked Watermelon Kool-Aid ($8.5, non-alcoholic), a crisp watermelon juice cold-pressed to retain a glistening freshness, fused with a hint of spritz and a squeeze of lemon.
Then there was the Egg Cream($8.5, non-alcoholic), which was like a chocolate milkshake but so much more. Instead of a frothy milk and chocolate confection, we were served a drink so thick with cream that it was an effort to get it up the straw. The cherry on the cake was the splash of carbonated water, making for an indescribable flavour that has to be tasted to be understood.  

Pickled Okra ($4)
Whilst we sipped on our drinks, we were served up a couple of snacks to nibble on. The Pickled Okra ($4) whetted the appetite with its tang and crunch, and a smoky tingle from the house-made habanero sauce. 

Pig’s Ear Chips ($8)
The Pig’s Ear Chips ($8) is the ultimate in beer food. Not only did they taste like moreish strips of salty crackling, they had the added crunch from the thin band of cartilage, and the fattiness of caramelised gelatine.

Fried Chicken And Waffles ($19)
The Fried Chicken And Waffles ($19) floated out of the kitchen born on a cloud, rainbows trailing in its wake. The batter fell off the chicken the moment I touched it, but I wasn’t expecting the way the meat fell off the bone too. Marinated overnight in buttermilk and a spice blend of black pepper, cloves, and cayenne pepper, the chicken was sweet and spicy, and unlike any other fried chicken I’ve had before. 

Fried Chicken And Waffles ($19)
On the side were crisp, fluffy waffles with deep pockets for maple syrup. Infused with cheddar cheese and pungent rosemary, the slightly savoury waffles were amazing with the slightly sweet chicken. 
Mac and Cheese ($12)
Mac and Cheese ($12)
On the side we had a small pan of Mac and Cheese ($12). Served piping hot, the chewy elbows of pasta languished in a mixture of three cheeses, topped with crunchy breadcrumbs and a crust of more cheese. Words can’t even begin to describe how luscious this was. 

Blackened Snapper and Clams ($32)
After all that decadence, we decided to finish up our savouries with something lighter; well, as light as soul food can get. Our Blackened Snapper and Clams ($32) was proof that food doesn’t need to be thrown into the fryer to taste good. The flaky brick of fish was encrusted in an explosive mixture of spices, pan seared, then finished in the oven for a smoky aroma heavy with mustard seed.
Corn Bread ($6)
Blackened Snapper and Clams ($32)
The fish was served with skillet Corn Bread ($6); we were assured that it was absolutely perfect with the snapper. The corn bread was fluffy and fragrant with corn husks, its sweetness unbelievably delicious mingling with the brininess of clams infused into the buttery sauce. It was, as promised, absolutely perfect. 
 
Apple Pie ($10)
We had paced ourselves for the first time on record, and ended up with just enough room for Apple Pie ($10). Though not as pretty as a slice of pie would’ve been, these individual little pockets of buttery pastry were coated in flurries of cinnamon sugar, the filling as tart and juicy as the outside was sweet and crispy.
I have a confession; the first time I checked out the menu online, I felt like I should’ve emailed the owner and asked him to retract his invitation, as Mr Big Stuff was bound to skyrocket to popularity without an ounce of blogger help. Still, I am incredibly glad to have the chance to confirm that suspicion myself. This meal was worth every gram of fat that migrated to my thighs.
Rating: 16/20 – big stuff.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.
Sweet and Sour Fork dined as a guest of Mr Big Stuff.

Mr Big Stuff on Urbanspoon

American  Impress Your Date ($30-$45)  Melbourne CBD  Soul Food  Victoria 



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