Food truckin’

Gumbo Kitchen

Check out their location daily on their twitter feed

Service with a grin

In the last 12 months there seems to have been an upmarket food truck explosion in Melbourne. Food trucks are certainly pretty popular overseas and I’m excited to see more of them popping up here. Gerard and I went on a holiday to the US early last year one of my favourite days was in New York when we went to the Zagat Food Truck Frenzy – two blocks and 26 gourmet food trucks serving everything from ice cream and cupcakes to lobster. It was food truck heaven, especially after we had tried to go to a smaller food truck rally (about half a dozen vans) in Brooklyn earlier in the week but left when we realised that the lines were all at least an hour and a half long. I know I’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent here but I’ll get back on topic in a second, I swear, I just got distracted thinking  about how awesome it would be if someone organised a food truck rally in Melbourne. Yes.

The latest truck to start up (as far as I know, it’d hard to keep track these days) is Gumbo Kitchen specialising in gumbo and po’ boy sandwiches. As with the other gourmet food trucks Gumbo Kitchen moves around, focusing on the north-side where it seems to be easier to get permits. We checked twitter in the afternoon and found that they were going to be serving up from 6pm at Ruckers Hill in Northcote. I wasn’t exactly sure where it was going to be, but the crowd of hipsters hanging out on the grass made it pretty easy to find. I can spot disaffected youth from a short-sighted mile away.

Gumbo Kitchen

We got to the truck at 7 and found that they were already sold out of a number of things (including the shrimp po’ boy) which was disappointing. There was also a reaaaaly long wait by fast food standards, we ordered at 7 and didn’t get food until about 7.35. I assume that they were a lot busier than they expected, but it was still a bit off putting.

Po' Boy

There were 5 of us, one of our friends ordered for himself and then the other 4 of us split 2 gumbos, 2 beef po’ boys and a side of hush puppies.

The gumbo (which I think rotates) was chicken and sausage and came served with rice and bread ($11). The gumbo was fine, but pretty oily and a little underwhelming flavour-wise. I don’t know that I’d come back for it. Another finicky little thing, because the 4 of us were sharing the gumbo we asked for a couple extra forks and were told that they only carry the exact number of forks required for the number of gumbo serves. We could share so the forks weren’t a huge disaster but I’d be pretty annoyed if I dropped a plastic fork on the ground and was told I couldn’t get a replacement.

Sausage and chicken gumbo

The menu listed two types of po’ boy – deep fried shrimp ($10 large, $13 bigger) and beef ($9/$12), both served with lettuce, tomato and pickle. We wanted to try both the shrimp and beef po’ boys but the shrimp was sold out so we stuck to the beef. They were also sold out of lettuce and tomato (but not pickles) so our sandwich just had beef and pickle. The beef was delicious. Hugely messy (as you can see from the picture) and a bit hard to eat, but really tasty. I’d eat this again.


We also had the hush puppies ($5) which I forgot to take a photo of. They’re little deep fried balls of cornmeal batter which in this case were served with a chilli mayo type dipping sauce. It’s a good thing that there was plenty of dipping sauce because they were seriously dry.

All up
I think I caught Gumbo Kitchen on a bad day,  the wait time and things being sold out early were disappointing. I also wasn’t super excited by the gumbo but the beef po’ boy was great (if messy) and I’d definitely like to try the shrimp version.

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