I had seen the listing for the event in online publications, but hadn’t taken it seriously/paid much heed. An instagram photo of the star burger, however, changed all that (the KFP burger, more on that will follow).
The restaurant is in one of the James Street complexes (the one with Lululemon at the prime exposure steet corner), in the area behind the Bucci restaurant. There isn’t obvious signage as you approach, but your arrival is confirmed by the chalk writing on the A-frame just out in the walkway, then across the front of the service counter. Clever idea, to have that front counter and the walls done in chalkboard paint. It gives them flexibility to rebrand the space as they bring new food features in.
It was a short list of options, which is a wise thing to if you are planning to do just a few things well. Unsurprisingly, it was pork-centered. Getting the burger was a given, and I had thought it would be burgers all round. Instead, others opted for the Cuban sandwich and the Char siew roll, despite my recommendation. That led to regret later. Not because the later two were bad, but because the burger was that much better.
To the burger. The KFP, or Kentucky Fried Pork cheeks burger. Pork cheeks braised in buttermilk for 16 hours, then coated in Southern fried crisps, with roasted apple slaw and mustard. You know when you hear about meat that just melts in your mouth? It was in reference to this. The crisp coating made it simultaneously soft and crunchy. There is often a risk of southern-themed burgers being over-salted. Not in this case. Flavour came from the pork itself,and from the slaw. It worked.
The Char siew roll was a spin on a typical taste. The char siew slices were not the dry variety from too many BBQ restaurants, but retained their moisture. Instead of sweet and sour-flavoured sauce, they were paired with coriander, chili, and kewpie mayonaise. The chili gave it a bit of a kick. Nice..but not as nice as the burger.
Similarly, the Cuban sandwich (smokey BBQ shredded pork shoulder, shaved ham, mustard, and Swiss cheese) was nice, but not as nice as the burger.
I had hoped to try the Fat Elvis doughnuts as well. Doughnuts with smoked pancetta sugar, a peanut butter caramel topping, finished with a slice of candied pork belly.. Unfortunately, lots of other people had had the same idea, and they were out of doughnuts by the time we got there. As we were having the meat mains though, the chef came out with something for us.. They had felt sorry for us missing out on the doughnuts, and got one of the doughnuts from an overcooked batch, and put all the other toppings on it so we could try it and at least get the flavours. You could taste the peanut butter in the caramel, and though it was quite a sweet topping, when had with the bacon, it was balanced out well by the saltiness. Clever combination. Elvis was on to something.
If you missed this event..sorry, but keep an eye out for next year.
Price point: $12.50 to $14.50 for the meat mains.
Address: Shop 9/15 James Street, behind Bucci
Website: https://instagram.com/pigoutpopup/ is probably the closest.