Gypsy and Pig

A friend of mine booked for Gypsy and Pig, and I had never heard of it. I had no idea what to expect and for once didn’t google the life out of it before going. I kind of expected something akin to a pub, but no.

Gypsy and Pig is a charming little Japanese laneway restaurant, which at first I couldn’t find because I walked right past it, stared at the pig logo, thought ‘that must be it’ then saw a sign on the door that said something about Kurobuta and so I thought that was the name. No, I just don’t speak Japanese, and Kurobuta is the type of pig that they serve (Black Berkshire) in their pork focused restaurant.

Between 3 of us (girls) we ordered 3 types of pork belly, of course.

  • Slow cooked kurobuta belly and egg in sweet soy
  • Sliced tender kurobuta belly and cucumber with special garlic soy
  • Crispy kurobuta belly and vegetables with spicy soy vinegar

We also ordered

  • One set (miso soup, rice and vegetables)
  • Potato and Pancetta Gratin

Now, the sets are meant to be per person, but none of us were that hungry or wanted to eat too much rice. In the end I don’t think anybody even drank the miso, which was sad.

Personally, I have never seen potato gratin in a Japanese restaurant but I’m told that it’s actually quite popular in Japan. I was hesitant about this dish because I thought 1) “Japanese cooking with Pancetta, really??” and 2) “Ew, the sauce is made with cod roe”. To explain that, I don’t eat seafood. However, I was very pleasantly surprised. There was no fishy taste at all, just a creamy rich sauce, perfectly cooked chunks of potato, and the all important crispy top. I highly recommend this dish.

Of the three styles of pork belly we tried, I recommend the Slow cooked belly the most. This was just tender and melt in your mouth perfection, just as you expect from pork belly. The sliced belly and cucumber was also very nice, a dryer style of thinly sliced meat, still very tender and without a thick sweet sauce. The crispy belly disappointed me a little, mostly because when I hear crispy belly I expect crackling, but in this case it was crumbed and fried.

Overall I would recommend this restaurant. They pick a specialty and they do it well. I’m a big fan of pork so the idea of going anywhere where I can have 3 styles of pork belly is always going to win points with me. I would like to go back and try some of the other specialty cuts.

Serves were on the small side for the price, but as this food is very rich, we weren’t left wanting.

Again, apologies for the lack of pictures. I promise to try to remember next time. I’m a terrible food blogger but a great lover of food… I’m too busy eating to take pictures 🐱

Saigon Rose

Saigon Rose is an unassuming Vietnamese restaurant down the Prahran end of Chapel Street. 

It was a last minute decision and we were lucky to get a table for 6, the place was packed! Nonetheless we were first met with much crying and tearing of the hair upon discovering that the Pho was not available for dinner! 

We quickly settled on the mains to share, lemon chicken (theirs comes out as delicious sliced chicken breast, not little balls of mystery meat), salt and pepper fried tofu (not the best I’ve had but ok), beef with chilli and lemon grass, a vegetable dish, and rice. The entrees we had were the rare beef salad (excellent!) and… and this is the kicker… banana chicken.

Initially we ordered this because we were curious. Banana chicken you say? What on earth is that? None of us had seen it on a menu before. The description was strange, banana and chicken on toast with plum sauce. It sounded quaint. We ordered for the hell of it.

MIND. BLOWN.

This stuff is amazing. It’s crispy, its soft, its salty, its sweet, the deep fried crumb on the outside is crunchy, the plum sauce is tangy. It’s like the unholy love child (I say that a lot, don’t I?) of a banana fritter and a chicken schnitzel wrapped up in a grilled cheese sandwich. Except there isn’t any cheese. It’s difficult to describe and sounds strange but it works.  

Go here. Order Banana Chicken. You’re welcome.