The pop-up is a relatively new concept. Though unlike the concept it encapsulates, it is likely to stay popular for a long time. Seeing three pop-ups side-by-side only strengthens this notion.
The question is – if a pop-up is going to be in place for six months is it a pop-up? Either way, the business case behind it seems irrefutable! At 80 Collins Street in the city three eagerly anticipated, or already popular and established, restaurants have joined forces and the result is delicious. We had got into the city early on account of the horrible forecast for early afternoon and later in the day. So a quick long black from The Church of Secular Coffee, a St Ali offshoot, was needed. But we had come for Kong.
Kong is the soon to arrive Oriental barbeque restaurant in Richmond at the old Pearl Cafe which will be the third child of a very successful family after Chin Chin and Baby. We had to wait to midday for what we knew would be strongly flavoured and rich offerings. The 16 hour smoked brisket steamed bun is delectable. The meat is beautifully cooked (though not necessarily generously served) and the slightly spicy accompanying wombok kimchi (Korean pickled cabbage), walnut ssamjang (Korean spicy paste) and kewpie (a mayo) create an amazing filling for the star in my book, which is the fluffy steamed bun. Two for $11 is reasonable, but not cheap.
The more innovative dish is the ssam roti rolls. BBQ lemon & gochujang (yet another spicy Korean condiment) chicken is served in a very light roti, quite crisp and thin, with Korean chilli paste, slaw and zucchini kimchi. It is heartier than the buns and a good option for lunch at $12. The flavours are a little more restrained but still a great balance for the slight chilli punch. The roti works nicely to keep it all together, but the wrapper is still definitely needed!
Jimmy Grants also has a pop-up in between and I’ll be rushing back to try their souva!
After checking out a free exhibition at the State Library on Rome: Piranesi’s Vision we had worked up a bit more appetite! I’ve always wanted to try a bun at Wonderbao and it was worth going a bit out of the way! I expected something a lot smaller for $3.50 but the Da Pork Bao was huge and equally delicious. The filling was especially great, but although the bun was nice, it was so big that I couldn’t finish it. I’ll be back, but with a bigger appetite!
We eventually had run out of puff doing quite a bit of walking and just made it to Cumulus Inc for an Originale (Belvedere Vodka, Campari, Tonic and Lime) as the rain came down.