We’ve been slow to getting around to hitting this crew since they joined the influx of food trucks into the west – so tonight’s the night.
A previous encounter in Brunswick had been of an acceptable nature, although I did find the roast beef debris po boy sandwich somewhat on the dull side and not really “as advertised”.
So this time around I have no problem sidestepping the allure of the various po boys such as soft shell crab and shrimp and heading straight for the gumbo.
I’ve experienced some pitiful excuses for gumbo in my time in Melbourne – so I’m delighted to report this is not one of them.
In fact, it’s the best gumbo I’ve had in Australia that I have not cooked myself.
And, the clincher, it’s not some fancy seafood gumbo.
This is the king of gumbos – chicken and sausage.
Nor is there file or okra involved. The chicken is not fried first, as is the case in some of the more extravagant recipes or flash New Orleans restaurants.
No, this chicken and sausage gumbo ($12) is plain old home-style cooking – the sort of gumbo you might find in any neighbourhood joint or bar in New Orleans.
Best of all, this is not a stew – this is a runny soup, which is as it should be.
There’s a dark roux and stock base, there’s the trinity of celery, capsicum and onion. And, my server Michael tells me, there’s your basic gumbo seasoning such as cayenne, oregano and thyme. And no doubt a few more.
It’s got that great, distinctive gumbo flavour and a nice spice hit.
There’s more than enough chicken chunks and sausage discs. The price seems reasonable enough given the quality of the gumbo.
Although you wouldn’t want to get thinking about the pho available just up the road or the $3 tacos being dispensed at the Reverence Hotel.
Bennie’s been at me for months that he wants to try gumbo, but I simply haven’t gotten around to it.
Next time he raises the subject, and presuming I remain uninspired to do the job myself, I’ll be more than happy to haul him along to the Gumbo Kitchen and say: “THAT’S gumbo!”