So we decided to check out Hustle & Scout (fashion market) this month – never been before but this time they’ve introduced the for@ge, a food market. So naturally, we had to check it out. The food was alright, Mocan & Green Grout was there selling pork belly or soft shell crab banh mi, Mr Papa was selling a pork belly bun, a macron joint, a chocolate place, a juice joint, a store selling meatballs or eggplant sandwiches/share plates, Sweet Bone Bakery with their vegan sweets, Bing Bang with a bar selling mulled wine, Dihini selling Sri Lankan snacks and curries and Knead Patisserie with their cakes and coffee.
After checking out our food options, we had a quick squiz at the fashion portion – but ehh I’m not into fashion, so we quickly went back to the food area and settled on the pork belly bun and an empanada from Mr Papa plus a Inca Kola ($4) (lemony drink).
The pork in the pork belly bun ($12) was really soft and tender, like it had been slow cooked however we could clearly see that it was being cooked on a grill top, which seem to give the pork a slight crispiness. It was a really nice bun, however we found the raw onions a little overpowering (so we just pulled them out) but we really liked the addition of roasted sweet potato in pork belly buns.
The empanada ($6) had this slightly sweet pastry that was crumbly (but not fall apart crumbly). It was quite different to the bitey pastry that you usually get – in a pretty good way. The filling was again really different to anything else we’ve had, it was quite oniony and had no olives, we also found that we couldn’t quite make out the meat over the flavours of the pastry. We’ve never had Peruvian empanadas before so this was quite interesting.
Besides Mr Papa, nothing else really appealed to us – expect maybe the meatball/eggplant sandwich but it was a little small and we were pretty hungry so we decided to have a proper sit down dinner at Mocan and Green Grout. At first, we were thinking of having dinner at Mocan and second dinner at A.Baker (yay for being like a Hobbit) but as you will see later – we didn’t quite get there, sadly.
So we sat down and ordered two chai tea pots ($5.50 each). The chai tea at Mocan is awesome, it has this mild spicy after-taste that makes me think that they use real spices instead of the powdered stuff you get from the supermarket (not that, that isn’t nice) but this is way better. The teas came out quickly and we sipped away while checking out the menu.
We settled on getting two plates to share, with the hopes of getting a couple more at A.Baker afterwards (all the plates for dinner at Mocan are designed for sharing and are relatively small/light). We got the cured kingfish with kim chi and the crookwell steak tartare. Here is where the story gets interesting – we finished off our teas and just chatted away, we started to notice that our dishes were taking a while, especially considering that there is no cooking required – just assembling. After having our waiter come by multiple times apologising for the long wait, the chef eventually gave us two complementary eggplant puree ($4) starters (without us complaining or prompting) – the eggplant was great, it was creamy and smokey – would consider ordering next time.
After finishing, we continued chatting for a while before receiving our first plate. The cured kingfish and kim chi ($22) came out looking amazing and fresh. The dish itself was really light and refreshing, it came with these peppery (Asian – I believe) leaves, the kim chi wasn’t overly spicy or overpowering – it was just enough to give the dish a bit of a kick. I ended up turning it into a bit of a san choy bow – wrapping up the fresh kingfish in the peppery leaves with a bit of kim chi and raddish. The dish was really good! I wished they included more than just 3 leaves.
The wait between the cured kingfish and steak tartare was long…(we could see other people around us getting quite annoyed at their long waits as well). At this point, I was getting pretty impatient. I was really hungry after having a bit of food in my stomach (it wanted more) instead we had to wait an additional 45mins before getting our tartare. As Mocan is an open kitchen, it became obvious to us that they had ran out of eggs. It would have been nice if they had informed us and gave us the chance to change our order instead of making us wait 1hr 30mins for two preparation only dishes.
The crookwell steak tartare ($21) itself was lovely, it came with an onion, jalapeno, capsicum and spices salsa. It was really rich, with a slight ting of sweetness. The beef was really nice but the salsa and olive oil bread was quite overpowering and you couldn’t quite taste the freshness of the beef – which seems to be a bit of a waste. Nevertheless, a very enjoyable dish.
Overall, the food was delicious and the staff were really friendly and apologetic about the wait however we really would have appreciated it if Mocan had given us the chance to re-order instead of making us sit around – would have been more than happy to try out those fantastic looking pork belly. Sadly, my first dinner at Mocan was a bit of a let down, although the food was great, ordering your meal at 6.15pm and not receiving your second dish until 7.45pm is just a little beyond acceptable. Sadly, by the time we paid the bill, it was 8pm – no second dinner at A.Baker for us.
Here are some images from our brekkie/brunch Mocan and Green Grout trip.