Gypsy and Pig

Shop 3 391 Little Lonsdale St
Melbourne, VIC
When I got back from my trip to Malaysia, I was convinced I would never want to eat again. I was stuffed so full of food that I had seriously wondered what would become of my blog once I was back in the country. Turns out I needn’t have worried – being a predominantly Muslim country, pork was a rarity in Malaysia, so a visit to Gypsy and Pig was like the rain after a drought.

Located in a very non-descript building on the corner of little Lonsdale and Hardware Street, the only indication of this restaurant is a bronze plate in the shape of a pig over the door, and a piggy-welcome hanging in the window. Step inside however and it will be pigs, pigs everywhere. From a guard pig crouched by the door to a little blu-tac pig quietly sitting in a corner, this place is about one thing only.
The Kurobuta, or Berkshire pig, is something akin to pig royalty. Like the tuna belly of sashimi, or the wagyu of beef, Kurobuta is known for being extensively marbled, flavoursome, and generally highly sought after. And whilst there are a smattering of chicken options and vegetarian meals on the menu, no one in their right mind would go to a place called Gypsy and Pig to have a salad. 
Ton-Katsu Lunch Set ($20)
Ton-Katsu Lunch Set ($20)
The first dish K and I shared was the Ton-Katsu Lunch Set ($20). Served alongside pickled vegetables, a small piece of marinated salmon and a pasta salad with a hint of wasabi, this deep fried pork loin is a world away from plebeian, oil-drenched cutlets. Coated in a golden, feathery crumb, the pork was buttery and tender, the richness complemented by a ladle of fruity tonkatsu sauce. The accompanying miso soup had a murmur of earthy and umami flavours without being over-salted.
Shoya-Yaki Lunch Set ($19)
Shoya-Yaki Lunch Set ($19)

In order to try something a little different, we strayed away from the deep fryer and ordered the Shoya-Yaki Lunch Set($19) instead. The small pile of grilled scotch fillet didn’t fare as well as its deep-fried counterpart. The pork was much too salty, and the thin layers were too dry to exhibit the natural lusciousness of pork, instead resembling something more akin to beef. Overall, this tasted more like something you’d order in a cheap and cheerful Chinese restaurant.

Assorted Dessert ($23)
It took us but a moment to decide that yes, we do have room for the Assorted Dessert ($23) platter. Consisting of the full-sized version of every dessert on the menu, this was great value. Unfortunately on the day we went, they were out of the cream caramel, the one I wanted to try the most. So instead of 5 desserts, we only had four, and the price was lowered accordingly to $18.
The pair of ice creams – green tea and black sesame – was creamy and rich, especially the black sesame that carried a concentrated nutty and smoky flavour. K didn’t really like the almond jelly, but I loved the wobbly, silken texture and the way it slips between the teeth. The NY-styled cheesecake was light and airy, and warmed-through so it melts in the mouth. A great end to our meal.
So I walked out of Gypsy and Pig with some pretty mixed feelings. I do love the good quality food and buttery pork but, it just doesn’t do as much for me as a good wagyu steak would. Call me uncultured but, give me a fatty piece of braised pork belly any day. Or double cooked. Or roasted. It all works for me.
Rating: 13/20 – piggy king.

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  • Reply LISA 06/01/2013 at 10:54 am

    I don’t mean to be stalkerish or anything but I would love to meet up with you sometime for brunch! You post amazing food photos and I could really learn a lot from you and your blog :)

    • Reply ming 07/01/2013 at 11:06 am

      Not stalkerish! I’d love to meet up with you for brunch sometime, though I’m not sure how much I can offer in terms of advice on blogging! Drop me a line at sweetandsourfork(at)gmail(dot)com and let’s work out a time! :)

  • Reply Catherine x 07/01/2013 at 12:04 am

    I want to come here and try the tonkatsu! It seems like it’s best to order pork dishes here instead of beef seeing as your beef dish was disappointing! Great photos as always, Ming :)

    • Reply ming 07/01/2013 at 11:07 am

      Hey Catherine! I say the tonkatsu is definitely worth ordering at least once, especially in the lunch set. The other thing I tried was actually pork as well but it may as well have been beef based on apperance and taste! I wanted to try their pork belly but they weren’t serving it at lunch :(

  • Reply Bryan 16/01/2013 at 5:11 am

    I was quite smitten by the kurobuta tonkatsu here, not to mention the delicious miso soup. But agree with you, the non deep-fried dish I had was not as good. Am still pretty keen to go back though, the tonkatsu was the finest i’ve tasted in Melb so far. :)

    • Reply ming 25/01/2013 at 10:42 am

      Hi Bryan, thanks for dropping by! The tonkatsu is definitely the nicest I’ve had but I guess I just like my pork ribboned or layered with fat (like a true asian!). And speaking of good miso, have you tried the one at Hako? It’s to die for!

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