Holy mother of Crackles. Boy oh boy does Mr Crackles deliver. Any place that offers a ‘cup of crackling’ as a side has my instant tick of approval. If you’ve ever had a crunchy spot in your heart for the delightfully crisp and ear popping salty chunks of fatty heaven...this my friend is the place you need to be lining up for your next fix of crack-ling.
Welcome to 220 Crispy Crackling Lane, Pork Heaven
When I’d first heard of Mr Crackles a few months back, it really felt like a no brainer. Why wouldn’t you think to put perfectly slow cooked roast pork with it's heroic crunchy counterpart between the crevices of a beautifully baked baguette? More importantly, why hadn't I already devoured this absolutely heavenly creation? I spread the word to the crunchy pork faithful and on whim, we were standing in front of the closed roller door that would lead us to the righteous path of crackling euphoria. Eager and early as ever, we were peering through the gaps of the door to see a bountiful stack of perfectly golden crackling sheets, basking in a glorious light in its glass display box. Needless to say, we were the first in the door and the first to get our order on.
The crackling tease
The menu is pretty simple. We stuck with a couple of Crackles Classic rolls at $10 a pop, together with some Crispy Pork Nacho Fries ($10), with a cup of Crackling ($5) - to end it all with some Sweet Potato Wedges ($7). The Crackles Classic comes with the typical stuffing of a Vietnamese Bahn Mi Roll with lettuce, carrot, coriander - and of course, the star of the dish: five hunk-a-chunks of that roast pork and crackling.
The legendary Crackles Classic
At first bite, your pupils will dilate...your heart will start thumping, and you will hear a moan coming either out your own blissful satisfaction - or from the person next to you who has just sunk their teeth into the rich and oh-so decadent roll. That’s exactly what the Crackles Classic is all about. After the first initial meeting of crackling on teeth, your bite seems to glide through the salad and into the incredibly perfect baguette. This was the surprising dark horse of the dish for me. The baguette itself deserves great merit for its perfectly crisp shell and soft insides, hence making it the perfect complement to the ear popping accents of crackling in each mouthful. Traditionally, a Vietnamese roll is spread with mayonnaise, pate and soy giving it a distinctly Asian feel to it - but this fusion spin adopts only the mayonnaise which is not only rich in deliciousness, but also hints at an unexpected sweet note that drives your taste buds into a frenzy. And if you’re up for a pork and crackling overdose, there is the Manwich ($15) option of double the meat and half the salad. Caution: The Manwich is not for those feeling peckish or anyone looking to salvage their arteries.
A Cup of Crackling and Sweet Potato Fries, as you do.
And if you still haven’t had enough of the addictive sound of crackling; the cup of crackling turns up the volume. The cup of crackling comes from a heavy-handed salt rubbed skin roasted to perfection, to enable your textural craving. As does the sweet potato fries with a generous but balanced salting of its own. In fact, I’d say they were some of the best sweet potato fries I’ve ever had.
The next evolution of Nachos: Crispy Pork Nacho Fries
If you’re still with me and haven’t entered stage one of a food coma, or had to call an ambulance for your friend who is showing signs of a crackling induced psychosis: I present you with the next evolution in nachos: Crispy Pork Nacho Fries ($7). The substantial box of shoestring fries are laced with a tart tomato salsa, together with a sprinkling of shredded cheese, sour cream, spring onions topped with a mountain of roast pork and crackling. The sheer size of the side dish is enough between three people, and I’d even recommend it as a main on its own for one.
My kind of picnic food
All pork-ed out, and my ears ringing from the sound of crunch coming from my own mouth and three other peoples, I’d say well done Mr Crackles. A solid 9/10.
Overall verdict: Considerably decadent with good portion sizes.
Where: 155 Oxford Street Darlinghurst NSW
Why: Crackles Classic for first timers. Manwich for the adventurous or hungry.
Cost: Mains between $10-15, sides between $5-10.
When: Perfect for lunch time.
Good for kids: Relatively kid friendly menu.
Take away: Good option considering there is not much seating space.