Gypsy & Pig
Shop 3, 391 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne CBD
Monday again – how quickly it comes around! This weekend was a bit more exciting than usual though, because it was a long weekend (good work, Melbourne, giving us the day off in preparation for the footy), which happened to fall on our five year wedding anniversary, which we therefore took advantage of with a night away (which gave me a chance to put together another get away mini-guide :) ). But we were back in town on Friday night and decided that instead of token gifts (we’ve been together for 11 years now, we’ve run out of crap to buy each other), we’d go out for a good dinner instead. Because why would you want another necklace when you can have all of the pork?!
I actually can’t for the life of me remember how I came across Gypsy & Pig (some random Zomato or Google search?!), but I’m stoked I did – tucked both obviously and totally inconspicuously on the corner of Little Lonsdale and Hardware Sts in the middle of the city, it’s signage basically consists of a glowing pig out the front. Because that’s what they’re all about; pig. Kurobuta, to be more specific, which is a particularly prized type of pork to the Japanese (coming from the ancient Black Berkshire breed), and considered to be the best pork in the world.
Chef Kenji Higuchi is a one-man machine, running his business and kitchen with the most captivating silent precision; it’s only a little place, seating around 24 people if I had to guess, and Chef Kenji feeds everyone pretty much single handedly. We were seated with the best view in the house, in my opinion, facing the very open kitchen and enjoying the whole show.
The menu is incredible – very Japanese, very pork-centric, and each item sounding more delicious than the next, making it really hard to only pick out a few things. We decided to maximise tasting opportunities and ordered a few dishes to share…
Deepfried crumbed Kurobuta hamburg with melted cheddar cheese ($21.00)
We were expecting an actual hamburger, but got this instead; it’s all the good bits of a burger without the lettuce, tomato and bread! Extraordinarily soft and crumbly mince tucked inside yet another perfectly crisp and golden shell, with just the right amount of melty cheese in the centre. Wow.
Crispy Kurobuta belly and vegetables ($19.00)
Actually the best pork belly I’ve ever eaten to date. No words can describe the perfection of this dish; the meat was literally melt-in-your-mouth soft and tender, the fat flawlessly rendered away… I mean, there’s just nothing I can say that can do this justice. Just go an eat this. Just eat it.
The service was faultlessly attentive, the food was just incredible, every little detail was impeccably attended to. Yes, it’s a pricey night out, but when you’ve eaten your way through this menu in this beautiful, intimate little space, I can guarantee you won’t regret the cost. It was such a great night out, and I genuinely already can’t wait to return!