Gypsy & Pig | Meet Fresh

Gypsy & Pig

Shop 3
391 Little Lonsdale St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
03 9640 0731
Gypsy & Pig on Urbanspoon

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There’s one thing I realise about my blogging style. More often than not, it isn’t me who carves out the pathway of where-to-eat. It’s usually my friends who do that for me.

This visit was decided by Fakegf, whom I now acknowledge is definitely more of a foodie than myself *gasp*. I remember I-Hua and Agnes blogging about this place recently, but it just did not stick to my mind. Probably a result of subscribed-to-too-many-bloggers syndrome – reader screenflood! But Fakegf remembered, said she wanted to go, and of course… I did my auto-yes!

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We came here for lunch on a Tuesday. Being the brunch-o-philes that we are, we arrived all hungry at 11am, only to see they’re still shut! But the friendly waitress came out with a big smile to greet us and said they’ll be opening shortly at 11.30am.

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Gypsy & Pig is a cute little space, with not many tables at all, the main feature being a central counter area where you can sit and watch all the prep work being done. There, you could watch the chef stealthily slicing pieces of silky fresh Kurobuta pork right in front of you.

That afternoon, I learnt why the restaurant’s named so, it’s all about good pork. The succinct lunch menu mostly featured different ways that Kurobuta pork can be cooked. And it’s served bento-style with rice, salad, miso soup and small condiment dishes.

Kurobuta is a rare breed black-furred pig that originated from England, we’d probably know them better as Berkshire pigs. They’re prized for their juiciness, tenderness and high levels of marbling. Dare I say it’s the Gucci of the pork meat world?

Gypsy And Pig 9794Ton-Katsu $20.00
Deepfried Crumbed Kurobuta Loin

And lo and behold… a magnificent bento box! Fakegf’s crumbed Kurobuta loin was wonderfully buttery soft and really really flavorsome. It was also deepfried to perfection without any hint of old frying oils. Amazing. I secretly wished Kicci (who recently guest posted Rockpool) was here to try this and comment about it, him being a carnivore who really knows his meats. And you should also note that I’m generally not a fan of deep fried foods (including tonkatsu), but that piece of pork was… wow!

The other components in the bento were also very good. In particular, the miso soup. It had an exceptional smokiness that can only come from dashi made from real konbu (kelp) and katsubuoshi (bonito) flakes. No powdered, rehydrated nonsense here.

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There’s also other meats and seafoods on the lunch menu, the deep fried crumbed chicken (not in picture) was cutely named as “Chikin-Katsu”. Aaaaaa… so kawaii!!

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The other thing I liked about this place was how all the sauces are served on the side. How many times have we been served a perfectly good dish only to see that it’s been drowned in too much sauce?

Here, the sauces were delicious, and you get to choose how much or how little dressing/sauce you want with your dish.

Gypsy And Pig 9795Shoga-Yaki $19.00
Pan Grilled Sliced Kurobuta w/ Special Ginger Soy

I did a common food blogger’s mistake of ordering something different just for the sake of the blog. I had a hunch that the ‘special ginger soy’ in this dish would probably be on the sweet side. True enough it was.

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The pork was once again of good quality, but I wasn’t that keen on the sweet soy sauce. Fakegf liked it’s gingeryness though. But I definitely enjoyed the finely julienned mountain of salad we each had. It went nicely with the ponzu-like vinaigrette. And guess what? Currently for lunch, you are welcome to ask for top-up salad, miso soup and rice… free of charge!

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Gypsy & Pig served such a good quality lunch. Every aspect of that simple meal was cooked and served with that wonderful Japanese sensibility of giving thought and attention to detail. I’m really keen on coming back.

Meet Fresh

147 Swanston St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Meet Fresh on Urbanspoon

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Dessert isn’t offered during lunches at Gypsy & Pig, so we had to find somewhere in the city for our fix.

Remember how I said it’s the people around me who clues me in on where to eat? Well, once again, it was Fakegf who told me about Meet Fresh. Gee I’m really so not ahead of my game, haha!

I believe Meet Fresh is a chain of Taiwanese dessert stores that has taken Sydney by storm. And this is the first branch ever in Victoria. Looking at Urbanspoon reviews, this flagship store is doing badly (54% rating) at the time of writing. But I don’t trust Urbanspoon anyway, especially when it comes to Asian food.

Meet Fresh 9847Lotus Seeds Tofu Pudding $5.20

I like my Asian desserts simple, so this tau fu fa with lotus nuts matched my needs perfectly. Nice combination too. The soybean custard’s texture was heaps smoother than Dessert Story’s version, and it held a nice flavour of beancurd. The soup also had a sensible sweetness level. I was happy.

Meet Fresh 1Herbal Jelly No. 3 (Red Beans + Peanuts + Pearls) $5.50

Fakegf’s herbal jelly tasted like a hybrid between guī líng gāo and grass jelly, holding a slightly herbal character. It came with lots of fillings, ala Taiwanese style. While the pearls weren’t necessary, we liked everything else about this dessert.

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When we visited, the dessert store was so newly opened that they gave a free Taro Ball Special dessert with every dessert ordered. I wasn’t a fan of the large and oddly chewy-hard taro balls though.

Meet Fresh is a promising Asian dessert café in Melbourne’s CBD, a good option if you’re bored with Monga and Dessert Story. But it’s a very small café on a busy stretch of Swanston St. I suspect it’s going to be a quite annoying trying to get a table during peak hours. And realistically speaking, I also have this feeling that, like many Asian places in Melbourne, service and food quality is likely to go up and down. I’ll keep revisiting during quiet hours though, I love my Asian desserts too much! =)