Maple Leaf Meats, Yarraville Gardens
The initial buzz that attended the arrival of food trucks in the west has long since faded.
Trucks still park at Yarraville Gardens and elsewhere, but they have become for us – and no doubt others – just one of many eating scenarios.
For this Saturday lunch, our post-kung fu, food-seeking rambling finds us parking and intent on doing the “truck thing” for the first time in a long while.
We do really, really good.
After perusing the line-up of vehicular vittles on offer, we opt – for no great reason and with only modest expectations – for Maple Leaf Meats and their cool, old-school truck/caravan.
I say modest expectations because part of our general disinclination to have any truck with this style of food comes down to quite a few disappointments of the mediocre and over-priced food variety.
The Maple Leaf Meats crew goes a long way towards restoring our faith in food trucks and what they offer.
The menu (see below) runs to barbecue offerings such as ribs and wings, but we’re not up for that kind of full-on meatiness or expense (in the case of the ribs), so opt for the burger route.
My Maple Leaf Burger ($14) is a very fine production with its cheese, pickles, tomato, lettuce and chipotle mayo.
Had I been paying more attention, and not in such a hungry hurry, I may have noted the presence of caramelised onion and therefore opted for another burger selection, caramelised onions being another offering we often find very disappointing and dull.
Here, though, they’re fine – a plus on what is already a fine burger.
Best of all, the patty is of robust and delicious beefiness.
Bennie does even better with his Smoked Meat Burger ($15).
In addition to the routine fillings, including in this case mustard, this winner comes with “Montreal smoked meat”.
This turns out to be pastrami, which – we’re told – is a Montreal specialty.
But this is not just pastrami – it’s Really Good Pastrami and there’s heaps of it.
This is not merely a matter of the sort of flavour tingle that a rasher of bacon gives to a burger.
So profound is the smoked meat’s impact that it’s more about creating something wholly new and different.
Bennie loves it.
In tune with the rest of our meal, the small serve of chips ($5) is excellent – each and every one is hot and crisp.
The best part of an hour later, we’re pretty much in Werribee and getting on with our day.
After a longish period of silent grooving to the car music, out of nowhere Bennie emphatically opines:
“Man, that was a good burger!”