Food and Drink


Mumbo Gumbo

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As Melbourne’s taste for US food moves progressively south, a New Orleans food truck was bound to pop up sooner or later. Voila, Gumbo Kitchen rolled into town a few weeks ago and has been pulling crowds thick and fast ever since. In fact it took three attempts before I finally got to taste more than their fumes – the first time they were sold out and the second time the truck had broken down. Third time’s a charm.

The result is Gumbo Kitchen is the spicy love child of Michael Cotter (Bar None), Patricia Stanton and Chef Elvin Ho (Movida and Bar Idda). It joins the Taco Truck, Le Sausage and Beatbox Kitchen in Melbourne’s growing fleet of Facebooking, tweeting trucks. The deep blue kitchen on wheels blares New Orleans funk and jazz and offers complimentary picnic blankets, southern-hospitality style.

Now I’m no expert on Creole, however I have spent some time in New Orleans (most of it eating) and can tell a muffaletta from a crawfish, so I was pretty interested to see how Gumbo Kitchen stacked up. On the night I went there were two varieties of gumbo – sweetcorn with fried green tomatoes ($11) and seafood ($13), po’boys stuffed with either deep fried shrimp or beef debris ($10 – $15). Finally there was The Dom, slow braised beef debris over chunky fries with Cajun remoulade and a pickle ($13).

My lady friend went for the seafood gumbo, I choose The Dom. The gumbo came in a neat cardboard container and was served over rice. I liked the fact there were crab claws floating around and they didn’t skip on the prawns. While it reminded me more of a chowder than gumbo the thick soup had a pleasant hint of okra and a peppery finish. Nice.

Is Dom, is gooey. While it may not look like much it’s hard to go wrong with the holy trinity of meat, gravy and chips.The beef debris had been slow cooked and the gravy almost as thick as my arteries. The pickle worked as a palate cleanser, I preferred the bottled hot-sauce to the remoulade and I would’ve liked hand-cut chips, but now I’m just being precious. I liked it. I also had to lie down after finishing it.

Now if only they could get a license to make Mint Juleps…

Keep afoot of the Creole capers via Facebook and Twitter. Get in early. Bring beer.

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