Find your inner piggy at this pork-centric eatery
There’s been a bit of a fad for pet pigs in the last few years. (Thanks, George Clooney.) Who of a sane mind wouldn’t want a little porker adorably grunting at their side through life’s ups and downs?
For now, forget that dream. Forget their cute little black eyes, twisty tails and the way they toss themselves around in the mud. Because new Surry Hills eatery Pork’d is all about pig – the kind you eat, not the kind you nuzzle with on a rainy night. Sorry piggy.
Pork’d feels like a pub with a kick-ass kitchen. Set within an old terrace, on Surry Hills' old Red Lantern site (and still run by Mark Jensen and Pauline Nguyen), the space is long and thin, with old wooden floorboards and fireplaces. The vibe is low-key, and there are tables out the front if you're after an alfresco evening. It’s a cool concept – you go in, open a tab at the bar and order some drinks. (Go with the Feral smoked porter – it’s hoppy and tastes faintly of bitter molasses, so it cuts through all of that fatty pork you’re about to dive into). Porter in hand, saunter like a boss into the kitchen to order your feed.
Cue every vegetarian’s living nightmare, and every carnivore's nirvana: tray after tray of porcine goodness. There are hocks, bellies, bums and sausages, among other cuts (all ethically sourced, we're told). The pigsy plate is the best way to taste just about everything. A kind of pork tapas, the exact selection changes daily, but when we're there it’s cider pork belly, chilli bacon, porter ham hock, cheese kransky and pulled pork butt. Everything is cooked well and full of porky flavour, but the star is the cider pork belly. It is salty, rich in fat and slightly sweet from the booze, which you can really taste. We wouldn’t look past just ordering a plate of this on its own actually (which you can do here), it’s that good.
The kransky is a good time, too, smoky in flavour and the cheese soft within. The hock is pure, tender ham and the chilli bacon hits all of the crisp and crackly spots you need. It all comes with slightly sweet stewed beans, a bread roll, one of those big American pickles you never know quite what to do with, and an additional side dish. Choices are an old-fashioned coleslaw, broccoli salad or an iceberg wedge, but the dressings are heavy on the vinegar and the coleslaw perhaps too fatty when paired with all that pork. Go for the mash. When we visit it’s made with a whipped-up blend of celeriac and potato – fluffy, light and nicely seasoned.
Once your tray has been filled to breaking point by one of the friendly chefs, head back to your table and gorge. It’s that simple. Just try not to think about the pigs.
545 Crown St
|Opening hours:||Mon-Thu 5-11pm; Fri-Sat 12-11pm; Sun 12-9pm|