17 Apr Gypsy & Pig, Melbourne CBD
Located on the corner of Hardware Lane and Little Lonsdale St, Gypsy & Pig is a kurobuta (aka black pig or Berkshire pork) and tonkatsu specialist. It’s a cozy little place mainly made up of bar seats arranged around the kitchen. The quirky, yet friendly cafe feel was accentuated by various spelling mistakes on the menu and numerous pig decorations arranged all over the counter top and window sills – even their toothpick holders were pig-shaped!
Gypsy & Pig’s lunch menu is unsurprisingly composed of mainly kurobuta and/or katsu dishes, and all come as a set with rice, miso soup, pickled vegetables and two other small dishes. Of course, I couldn’t not order an item they specialise in, so I went for the Hire-Katsu – deep-fried crumbed kurobuta eye fillet. I rarely eat katsu because I usually find crumbed food too greasy for my stomach to handle, but this was really something else. The crumb was so light and crisp and wasn’t saturated in oil. In fact, the katsu was placed on a small rack to allow any excess oil to drip off, but there wasn’t any. Despite the kitchen and dining area being in the same space, I didn’t hear or smell the typical sounds or smells of fried food, which made the dining experience even more pleasant. It was served alongside a finely-shredded cabbage salad, potato salad and some veggies. The tables were set with mustard, dressing for the cabbage salad and sauce for the tonkatsu. The tonkatsu dressing was slightly more acidic than sweet, and because it wasn’t overly strong, it paired nicely with the delicate panko crumb and allowed the lovely flavours from the pork to come through. Kurobuta pork is highly marbled and so, like wagyu, is more tender and flavoursome than pork from other breeds. Indeed, this was the juiciest and most enjoyable pork I’ve had; I’d eat tonkatsu more often if it were always like this!