Melbourne is inundated with countless Japanese eateries and cafes, some traditional and some contemporary. It's rare, however, to find an establishment which is so popular among the Japanese and is actually run by an all-Japanese team. Gypsy and Pig, aside from sporting a cute name, is a small Japanese café tucked at the end of Hardware lane, which specialises in korobuta pork - a special type of fatty pork which is served either deep-fried crumbed, pan-fried or slow-cooked. Its obscurity is probably a blessing, as it seats only twenty to thirty patrons at a time. The café is laid out in true Japanese style - side by side seats surrounding the central cooking station. If you are bored, you can play a game of counting the number of pig motifs adorning every nook and corner of the small eatery!
The menu is of course dominated by PORK! For those who like to go for the traditional, the deep-fried crumbed korobuta loin ($20) is the way to go. Beware as its fatty goodness is not for the health-conscious, but once you start you can't stop! Other options include the slow-cooked Korobuta belly and egg in soy sauce ($18) or for those looking for a healthier option, the pan-grilled sliced korobuta with special ginger soy ($19) is also a lip-smacking option. Be sure to pay the extra $7 for your dish to come in a set including rice, miso soup, a side dish and pickled veggies.
Dessert is also another highlight with an innovative Japanese-western fusion menu including maple syrup cheesecake, almond jelly with fruit and crème caramel. For those who simply can't choose and want a bit of everything opt for the assorted dessert platter ($22) which comes with a sample of everything on the menu, plus a scoop of green-tea and sesame ice cream. It's simply and sugar-loaded symphony of flavours.
If you were looking for good quality specialty Japanese food and love pork, then Gypsy and Pig is a must-visit. With an intimate setting and attentive start, you could almost imagine yourself in a local eatery in the heart of Tokyo.