Is it just me, or has absolutely everyone in Sydney fallen in love with Mr Crackles in Darlinghurst? Food bloggers can be hard to please, so when every single food blogger in Sydney raves about a new joint, you know it’s going to be good.
K and I made it to Mr Crackles late on a weeknight, and had a quick dinner standing up at the small bench in the shop. Take-away was the most popular option though, with most people choosing to take their crispy pork crackling away with them to savour in a moment of pure bliss.
We started with a small side serve of their famous pork crackling to share between the two of us. While it’s not the healthiest of food choices, I instantly regretted choosing to share with K, as I wanted to eat it all myself! The crackling is amazingly crispy and crunchy, while still retaining that slight stickiness that makes it stick to your teeth. The flavour was incredibly intense – slightly salty, slightly smokey, and all goodness.
We ordered another side to share of the chilli cheese fries. While the fries themselves were lovely and crunchy with a good amount of salt seasoning, the chilli con carne mix on top was, unfortunately, much too salty to eat comfortably. The balance of flavours just wasn’t right – the salt content was too high, the chilli factor barely present, and it lacked the vegetable mix that usually forms the ideal base for a chilli con carne. A disappointing dish.
As a child, I was an avid reader of American school tales – all of which inevitably included cafeteria scenes with kids talking about the sloppy joes they were eating. As my first taste of a sloppy joe, I have to say that I was disappointed. The mince mix was strangely presented in a hot dog bun rather than a burger bun as I understand it’s normally done – and the mix itself was similar to the chilli con carne in that it was too salty without enough spice. Quite frankly if I was after a hot dog, a sausage from Bunnings on a Saturday would have been a better and cheaper choice! Not what I expected from my first sloppy joe.
Now this was more like it! After two disappointing menu choices, we hit the jackpot again with the pork belly and crackling banh mi. While lacking some of the best bits of a Vietnamese banh mi (the lard! the pate!), the rest of the banh mi was surprisingly true to style – the julienned vegetables, fresh herbs, chilli sauce, and crispy bread made it a real delight. And the crackling. Oh my god the crackling.
Overall, I rate Mr Crackles a 7 out of 10. Their crackling is simply incredible, however the other items on their menu let them down. I wouldn’t bother going back for a full meal, however I may possibly return to get a small cup of the crackling to have as a snack!