Mr. Crackles

Hello Everyone and welcome back to an all new Review Sunday! Just a little heads up, next week Sunday will the the last Sunday that I will be doing reviews. I’ve come to a point where I’ve pretty much covered all of the places I’ve been to when I was in Sydney and haven’t been to restaurants, cafés, and/or eateries around Brunei – well I have, but I haven’t been in a I-need-to-take-a-picture-of-this-so-I-can-review-it-for-later kind of mood lately. Don’t fret! I will still be posting on Sundays, they just won’t be reviews. Instead, I will be sharing with you some of my design works since I believe that the last time I posted anything design related on my blog was about a year ago; so you’ve got that to look forward to!

Back on topic, today I will be reviewing one of the best places, in my opinion, to get a fairly priced roll of tender, succulent, crispy-skinned pork crackling. Excuse me for a second while I wipe the drool that just dribbled down my chin as I typed that. Only kidding, but seriously, if you’re ain’t watching your calories, this is where you need to be at every opportunity you get! I’ve passed this place so many times before as it’s within probably a 10-minute walk away from campus, but I’ve never really gone inside and tried their rolls until August of last year I think (and I had been living in Sydney since 2011)! My high school friend (and still friends now) Andrew was visiting from Brunei/UK and I decided to take him here for lunch before his flight back to Melbourne, and then Brunei, eventually to the UK. Of course Jialing was with us too; no food adventure would be complete with my partner in crime.

The second time I came here was the Christmas of 2014 I believe, and that was when I saw my friend Marissa post a photo of their special Christmas roll; apple sauce and cranberry relish paired with crispy pork?! Hells yes! Of course I went back with Jialing; she indulged in her Sticky BBQ Pork again. I think I may have gone back a couple times more before I introduced this place to my family when they were over for my graduation in June. Everyone, and of course myself included, loved this place, and how I wish that a Mr. Crackles existed on one of the side streets of Brunei. I’d be their number 1 customer hands down!

ROLLS

Mr. Crackles: Crackles Christmas Roll
ROLL OF THE MONTH (DECEMBER 2014)
Crackles Christmas Roll: Crispy pork, apple sauce, cranberry relish, and herb crumb ($13.50)

As mentioned above, I could not resist saying no to this little gem. I think what got me was the apple sauce and cranberry relish; first, you can’t go wrong with crispy pork crackling being paired with some apple sauce. Secondly, the cranberry relish to really pull the idea of Christmas together in this man-sized roll. The pork was, as always, cooked perfectly; tender, juicy meat with a satisfying crispy crackling for that crunch we all look for in a great roast pork. Everything else complimented the roll nicely.

Mr. Crackles: Braised Beef Cheek
ROLL OF THE MONTH (MAY 2015)
Braised beef cheek, parmesan mash, and gremolata crumble in a soft bun ($13.50)

I mean, I know the presentation of this roll is less enticing and extravagant than that of the other rolls, but trust me when I say that this is one pretty amazing combination of tender braised beef cheeks and parmesan mash in a soft bun. I had actually forgotten that there was mash in this bun when I came around to eating it. This was only because the mash isn’t actually visible when you first look at the bun; it was hidden below the braised beef cheeks. When I took a bite and realised that there was in fact parmesan mash in it, it was a nice surprise indeed. If this special ever comes around again, be sure not to miss out on it!

Mr. Crackles: Sticky BBQ Pork
STICKY BBQ PORK
Smokey bbq, ranch, salad, and onion rings in a soft bun ($13.50)

I must say that amongst the other rolls, this was by far the best looking one out of the bunch. I mean, I still love and prefer a nice crispy pork on my roll, but this was just something else. Onion rings in your bun? Don’t mind if I do! Smokey, sticky, check! A bit messy to eat if you’re biting into it instead of being posh and using cutlery, but who cares really.

Mr. Crackles: Crackles Classic
CRACKLES CLASSIC
Crisp skinned slow roast 5 spiced pork belly served with Vietnamese salad in a roll ($13.00)

You’ve heard me talk about the crispy pork before in the Crackles Christmas Roll, so it’s basically that, tender, juicy meat with a satisfying crispy crackling, with a nice touch of fresh Vietnamese salad to compliment the meat.

Mr. Crackles: Manwich
MANWICH
Twice the meat and half the salad on any of our famous rolls ($17.00)

Its like their Crackles Classic Roll only twice as much meat on it for a man-sized bite, but who says women can’t have it too?

SIDES

Mr. Crackles: Crispy Pork Nacho Fries
CRISPY PORK NACHO FRIES ($12.00)

This would’ve been flawless for me if it weren’t for the tomato sauce(?) in the nachos. I can’t quite put my finger on what it tasted like to me, but all I know was that it was a bit strong and acidic for my liking. I had to pick out the fries that were least covered in the sauce as I did not want it to go to such a shameful waste. In the end, I ended up leaving about a third of the fries behind, but still eating all of the yummy crispy pork of course!

Mr. Crackles: Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Dip
BUFFALO WINGS ($9.00) + blue cheese dip ($1.00)

The chicken packed just the right amount of heat in them and let’s be real here, you can’t possibly go wrong with buffalo wings AND blue cheese dip! These were delicious indeed.

Mr. Crackles: Cup of Crackling
CUP OF CRACKLING ($5.00)

When I first saw these cups of magical cracklings, I knew I needed to devour one. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed with them as they weren’t quite what I had imagined them to be. They were a bit too salty for my liking, hard, and dry. I prefer the crackling on top of those pieces of meat on their rolls than this crackling.

Mr. Crackles is like a Western take on a classic Vietnamese pork roll. Overall, if you want your daily fix of crispy pork crackling, be it in a roll, salad, or topped with your nacho fries, then Mr. Crackles is the place for you. I’d say that their rolls are reasonable priced for the size you get, therefore I’d give value for money an 8/10. For those who haven’t been to Mr. Crackles on Oxford Street just somewhat opposite Taylor Square, you’ll notice that they have very limited seating – 8 seats to be exact. Every time I go there though, I still manage to snag a seat and that’s only because everyone that goes there gets their rolls to go. I guess I can’t really judge the ambience of the place seeing as it’s more of a place where you’d grab your food and eat elsewhere, but if you do end up sitting down at the place to have your food, it’s quite loud from all the traffic noise on Oxford Street. It can also get a wee bit crowded if you go during peak hour, which is usually lunch and dinner I’m guessing. I saw crowded because you’ve got a lot of people lining up and waiting around for their order. If I were to give the place a rating, I’d say 7/10 as it’s alright as a takeaway place, but I’d give it a 4/10 for a sit down place. Besides that, I’m pretty sure you all know that I’m definitely going to give the food a sure 10 for the rolls. The sides had some minor issues with me, but nothing too big that would make me take it out on the rest of the menu. You can’t fault a perfectly great roast pork like that from Mr. Crackles! If you can, than you are not my friend.

Mr. Crackles
155 Oxford Street
Darlinghurst, New South Wales
Australia, 2010

– Ally xx

Devon on Danks: BREAKFAST WITH THE SAKUMA'S

Devon on Danks

Hello Everyone and welcome back to yet another Review Sunday on the blog! Devon Café is one of those that I’d never fail to go back to for a nice Sunday brunch, well besides the Potting Shed at the Grounds though – I can’t pick between the two! So recently, I think somewhere in mid-November, Devon Café expanded their brand and opened up a new venue over on Danks Street in Waterloo. I quite honestly did not get into the hype of it until late December, after Christmas, before New Years – not that I wasn’t into it, but I just wanted to wait until the hype died down a bit. Knowing that this is Sydney, the hype never dies down! The first time I went here wasn’t that bad though, we managed to get a seat straight away but even so, the place was pretty packed. If we had arrived any later we could’ve easily been standing outside waiting for at least 10 minutes or so for a table for 3. Don’t even get me started on how packed it was on ‘Straya Day, but lucky again we managed to get a table for 2 with ease, but I did feel sorry for the others who had to wait out in the rain for a table.

Devon on Danks: 'STRAYA DAY SPECIAL
‘STRAYA DAY SPECIAL
Medley of tomatoes, avocado, olive oil, and soft-boiled egg, on toast ($16.50)

As mentioned above, this dish was only available during Australia Day. I ordered it because it’s one of their specials and it won’t be on their menu ever again (maybe)! It was a difficult decision because I was eying their ‘Naked’ Bruschetta at that time as well. I actually have no regrets going for this dish because it blew my mind. Yes I know, some tomatoes and avocado on toast – really? The dish was just so flavoursome and fresh at the same time. The crusty white bread added that crunch texture to the palette and was excellent for soaking up the olive oil. The disappointment in this dish though was that my egg was not at all soft nor runny liked I’d expect it to be. Would’ve loved a runny yolk to compliment the crusty bread to soak it all up. Also, $16.50 for this dish? A bit too much in my opinion.

Devon on Danks: BREAKFAST WITH THE SAKUMA'S
BREAKFAST WITH THE SAKUMA’S
Miso grilled king salmon, smoked eel croquette, 63˚ egg, radish petit salad, and kewpi mayonnaise ($24.50)

This dish is probably Devon’s signature as it appears in both menus at the original Devon and Devon on Danks. My Instagram newsfeed always features this dish from other people’s brunches. I never really had this dish for myself to consume, but I did manage to have a bite from my friend’s plate. According to her, the salmon was cooked to perfection and I can definitely vouch for that statement. The egg was perfectly cooked, and flavour combinations worked well together. She overall liked the dish.

Devon on Danks: LITTLE LOST BREAD
LITTLE LOST BREAD
Brioche French toast, fresh and freeze dried strawberries, balsamic and strawberry gastrique, strawberry cheesecake ice cream, and Arnott’s biscuit crumble ($16.50)

Again, I did not have this dish to myself, but I did manage to have a small bite. My friends, who at that time share this dish as a dessert, really loved this dish, but it was a bit sour for my liking, which I think mainly came from the balsamic. But otherwise, the brioche French toast was amazing, and so was the ice cream that topped it. What I found interesting was that at the end of the description for this dish it said “add bacon $4.00”. BACON? I was so confused and intrigued at the same time, but my friends didn’t want to get the bacon with it.

Devon on Danks: DR SEUSS's GREEN EGGS AND HAM
DR SEUSS’s GREEN EGGS AND HAM
Thick cut bacon, crispy potato, 63˚ egg, green tomato ketchup, pea purée, soybeans, pea tendrils, and jus ($19.00)

This again was a dish that was predominately popping up on my Instagram newsfeed. I think what is attractive about this dish is its name. It brought back many childhood memories and this was a dish that I really wanted to indulge in, but unfortunately lost the battle with Marissa. She told me to order the same thing but I was like NO that’s not point! Because I write a blog, I actually hate it when people order the same thing, because then that means that I have one (sometimes two) less dishes to write about. Which also means that I have to again visit the café/restaurant so that I am not just reviewing two or three dishes. Anyway, tangent aside, the bacon was delish, cooked to perfection, and paired well with the other components in the dish. Marissa seemed to love it too!

Devon on Danks: SOFT SHELL CRAB SALAD ala JAPANOIS
SOFT SHELL CRAB SALAD ala JAPANOIS
Crispy soft shell crab with sichimi pepper, wasabi mayo, tobiko, nori, pickled cucumber, daikon, carrot, and shiso ($19.90)

Originally, this dish was meant to be a soft shell crab roll. I don’t know what happened, like whether they ran out of rolls or whatever other reason, this time when I came back with Tara, they had blacked out the ‘roll’ on their menu and changed it to a salad. Despite it not being a roll anymore, the dish was beautifully presented and was very flavoursome. The soft shell crab was crunchy and was packed with a lot of spice, quite possibly from the wasabi. That was on point for me. The salad was flavourful, but in the end I kept thinking that the dish looked really small, and for roughly $20.00, it almost seemed that you didn’t a good value for your money. I’ve had soft shell crab salad elsewhere before at a Japanese restaurant and it was about $11.00 for more than just ONE crab.

Devon on Danks: LUCKY DUCK
LUCKY DUCK
French buckwheat crêpe, crispy duck leg, duck liver parfait, fried duck egg, and blueberry preserve ($24.50)

This was the dish that I had that time I was out with Marissa and her friend Karina. Duck is one of my favourite meats which is why I had no doubts when having to select another dish after not being able to have my way with what I wanted in the first place. I regret nothing. This dish was top notch for me, despite me having doubts about the liver parfait. It actually tasted good together with the blueberry preserve and the other elements to the dish. I could not fault this dish, and unlike most dishes, this definitely was a great value for money.

Devon on Danks: CRONUT
CRONUT
Green tea matcha cronut with red bean filling ($7.00)

This was by far the best cronut I’ve had to date (not that I’ve had many anyway), but the flavour combinations happening in this one tiny cronut was to die for. The amount of red bean filling in this cronut might I add was very generous! It just oozed out every time we sliced into it for a bite. Though I did feel that by the 5th or 6th bite, I could feel that the red bean filling was a bit too sweet for my liking.

Devon on Danks: SOFT SERVE SUNDAE
SOFT SERVE SUNDAE
Pandan soft serve, banana, rice and coconut krispies, kalamansi cream, palm seeds, and gula melaka ($11.00)

What I love about Devon is the Asian fusion that they bring into their cuisine. This ice cream, though Asian inspired based on ingredients and flavours, is nothing that I have seen at all in Asia. Pansan, kalamansi, palm seeds, and gula melaka, are all flavours that I am familiar with, but never did I think that they’d all work so well together as an ice cream sundae! Loved the flavour combinations in this sundae, better than the salted caramel soft serve. I only wished that it had been a very hot day instead of a gloomy ‘Straya Day the time I shared this with Tara because the cloddish weather and really cold ice cream did not feel right!

Devon on Danks: DD's SPECIAL SOFT SERVE SUNDAE
DD’s SPECIAL SOFT SERVE SUNDAE
with salted caramel ice cream, black salt, and hot chips ($10.00)

Ever since the opening of Devon on Danks, I have seen this pop up on my Instagram feed one too many times! It brought back a lot of memories of when I was a kid and how I’d use to dip my order of fries into my soft serve ice cream on a cone from McDonalds. I think it was everyone’s childhood memories for everyone had written about how they did that when they were kids when talking about this sundae. Though I thoroughly enjoyed this, there was too much salt going on for me. I was fine at first, but I struggled to finish the rest. Salted caramel ice cream, TOPPED with black salt, AND salted fries on the side. Salt overload!

I’d rate the food probably an 8 on a scale of 10, just cos of some minor issues I had with some of the dishes that were served. Service was on point and the waiters/waitresses were always smiling, friendly, and gave great recommendations when it came down to having to make a decision on what cronut we wanted to have for dessert. The ambiance was sort of like modern meets industrial which by the way is what I like most about cafés around Sydney who embrace this interior design style fusion. Value for money is variable – some dishes I feel were reasonably priced while others I felt that they were a bit overpriced for the amount of food that was on the plate. Then again this is my opinion, and I’m pretty sure others will have a different say to this. But overall, be it the original Devon Café or Devon on Danks, I will always pay a visit when I am in the mood for a pretty epic brunch date.

Devon on Danks
2 Danks Street
Waterloo, New South Wales
Australia, 2017

– Ally xx