Pamela Anderson's done it. So has Brooke Shields, Adrian Grenier, Cold Chisel, Barbara Streisand, Elton John and even legends like Jerry Lewis, Frank Sinatra, and chicken king Colonel Harland Sanders have done it. And today, for the first time, I joined them.
Described as 'deadly' by the Lonely Planet, the 'Tiger Pie' from the iconic Harry's Café de Wheels in Woolloomooloo is arguably Sydney's most famous pie. Loved by celebs and locals alike, the Tiger is not for the faint hearted. Named after founder Harry 'Tiger' Edwards for his ability in the boxing ring, the signature dish is a generous serve of mushy peas sitting on top of a mountain of creamy mash potato and gravy, on top of a chunky lean beef pie.
Something about the combination of mash, peas, gravy and a lot of pie just works. Simple, yes, but also incredibly satisfying. If pies aren't your thing there are a heap of other offerings such as pasties, sausage rolls and hot dogs – all with a twist. 'Hot Dog de Wheels' is also hugely popular – a Viennese smoked frankfurt with mushy peas, chilli con carne and garlic onions with lashings of cheese sauce and chilli sauce. You'll never be satisfied with a plain hot dog again. And for those with mega stomach capacity, custard tarts, banana bread and choc-chip cookies are also available.
Although famous for its food, coming to Harry's is a something of a cultural experience. Open since 1945 against the backdrop of the Woolloomooloo naval dockyard, the café has stood the test of time without losing its simplicity. It was opened so customers could get a late-night feed. 66 years later, Harry's café is still open from 8:30am until 3 or 4am most nights.
Whatever you order at Harry's, you'll need to lose your inhibitions and eating etiquette. The best way to enjoy is to do what the Sydneysiders do and pull up a milk crate by the Woolloomooloo Pier and dig in. There's no pretty way to eat the hulking offerings, so maybe leave Harry's Café for the third or fourth date. But don't wait too much longer than that.