You’ve heard porky rumblings for months. But now we’re happy to announce Mr Crackles is finally (finally) serving in Melbourne.
And Melbourne bloody knows it. There’s a big crowd gathered in-store when we go to check it out on opening week. Hungry pork purists, jaws slathering, eyes wild, drawn by the smell of juicy, succulent, crispy-skinned five spice pork belly.
Basically, if farmer Hoggett had known his pig was destined for this place, Babe might have turned out a very different movie. Yep, it’s that good.
The thing no-one prepares you for at Mr. Crackles is the bread. We knew the pork would be good (it’s the meaty foundation of the whole institution), but the baguettes are crusty as f*ck. They’re finished off in-house by the Mr. Crackles team, and you can get them warm in the mornings, topped with all sorts of pig-based goodness.
Now if it’s your first time here, you pretty much HAVE to go the Crackles Classic. $14.50 gets you a 12-inch, perfectly baked baguette, topped with slow-roasted pork belly and a Vietnamese salad. Think your basic banh mi staples: a long cucumber baton, sweet pickled carrot, mint and a good squeeze of Kewpie mayo. The OG and still the best.
Long-time fans might want to branch out, in which case we’d recommend something that isn’t pork at all: the Chicken Katsu Roll. Crumbed Japanese chicken, served with a tangy Asian slaw and a perfectly balanced wasabi mayo (I’m not even mad hot on Wasabi, but it made a difference). Throw on some sesame seeds and you’ve got an absolute banger.
For sides? Pick your poison. Cups of pure crackling, puffed up and deliciously salty. Loaded Sticky BBQ Pork fries. Sweet potato chips or a bowl of crispy onion rings.
Mr Crackles is deliberately open late. How late will depend on the pork hunger of Melbourne’s 1am crowd, but you can bet this place will be pumping into the wee hours: 2am on Fridays and Saturdays is the plan. If it’s a choice between midnight Maccas and this place...get some pork on your fork.
Image credit: Annika Kafcaloudis