Let me put this down on record so Chris can’t weasel out of it down the track: he has promised to bring me an entire sheet of pork crackling at uni. And where exactly does one get an entire sheet of pork crackling? Mr Crackles of course, the place where the name really does say it all. Having long-since held cult status in Sydney (and probably Melbourne too before long – they’ve just expanded interstate), Mr Crackles is a takeaway shop along a main street specialising in sandwiches stuffed with crispy roast pork. The setup is very much grab and go – with just a couple of rows of fairly awkward bench seating lining the walls, eating in definitely not…
My love for Miznon needs no introduction. Ever since my very first visit, I have been absolutely smitten with this powerhouse of Israeli street food – a love that’s only grown with (many) subsequent visits. I just can’t get enough of their pillowy pitas, packed full of scrumptious ingredients, and their amazing take on fresh produce – whole head of roasted cauliflower anyone? And let’s not even let me near the self-serve station of tahini, pickles, and pita. So it goes without saying that I was absolutely delighted when Miznon released a brand-new dinner menu, taking their ingredients out of the pita pockets (though you can still get one if you want to!), and plating them up to share.
It may seem unbelievable, but despite living in Melbourne for all of my adult life, I’ve never had a souvlaki from Stalactites. Sure, I’ve eaten there enough times, but ordering a souva for a sit-down meal has always seemed silly to me, so I usually end up getting one of the platters instead. Plus, I got a little bit mad at them the last time I went and they took the change from my payment without asking, so I haven’t been back since. But when the Stalactites crew opened up Hella Good – a dedicated souvlaki shop – it seemed like time to bury the hatchet, and finally give the famous wrap a try.
Ever since eating the fabulous food at Miznon, I’ve been obsessed with anything that’s pita-pocket-esque. I’ve always thought the sandwich to be one of the greatest inventions in food history, and pita pockets are basically sandwiches 2.0 – served warm, and often armed to the hilt with ingredients worthy of a sit-down dinner. And although the pockets at Pezzo are made with 48-hour fermented sourdough instead of Turkish bread, it still ticked of my boxes, and I headed gleefully after work.
As much as I love George Calombaris (at least up until the whole scandal with him underpaying his staff), I had to admit that celebrity chefs are not exactly my cup of tea. Although I’m sure it’s not always the case, often it feels as if the only chefs that end up as celebrities are the ones who spend more time selling their brand, rather than cooking. So you have to understand my mixture of apprehension when I first heard earlier this year that Miznon was going to make an appearance in our very own Hardware Lane.
Mamasita was the restaurant that introduced Melbourne to ‘real’ Mexican food. Although there are other authentic Mexican restaurants that have been around for longer, Mamasita was the one that really put Mexican on the map. But unlike other wildly successful restaurants, the people behind Mamasita didn’t immediately set about expanding their empire (I’m looking at you, Chin Chin!). But finally, almost a whole 7 years later, we were finally blessed with Hotel Jesus (AYYYYY-MEN!).