155 Oxford St
Darlinghurst, NSW 2010
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 the preferred option, as evidenced by the constant stream of Deliveroo drivers.
The Crackles Classic ($14.5) consisted of a crusty roll stuffed with Vietnamese salad, and topped with the eponymous slow-roasted, crispy-skinned pork belly. The pork was as good as promised – succulent and juicy, with a healthy (or not) layer of melting fat beneath the salty, golden tile of crackling. On the down side however, the crusty roll was ridiculously difficult to eat – something more baguette-like would’ve done a lot better – and the slaw didn’t have enough zest to cut through the richness of the pork, a problem worsened by the copious usage of mayo.
The Bogan ($14.5) on the other hand is thinly disguised hang-over food. The crusty roll is swapped out for a soft hot dog bun, stuffed with chips and pork belly, topped with shredded cheese, and doused with gravy. It’s delicious in a ‘I can’t believe I’m eating this’ sort of way, but I will admit that it lacked nuance, and the pork belly didn’t stand out nearly as much as the star of the dish.
The Tater Tots ($7.5) were a hit – how could they not be? Golden, crunchy, and delectably salty, these rosemary and parmesan dusted nuggets were the best of their kind.
After consuming an entire day’s worth of calories, salt, and saturated fat in one sitting, I was left with slightly mixed feelings about Mr Crackles. Given its reputation, it definitely wasn’t the religious experience I had hoped it would be. Don’t get me wrong though – it was very delicious in a fast-food-done-slow sort of way, and I would definitely come back. I just don’t think it’s quite good enough to warrant the cult status that it has garnered.
Rating: 13/20 – i.o.u. sheet of crackling.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.