Some of Melbourne’s most creative food hounds have steered away from pricey restaurant fit-outs and lofty rents and opted instead to serve contemporary food on four wheels. They’re often hip, always tasty and, happily, they’re parked up long enough for visitors to track them down. Here are five of Melbourne’s best food trucks at venues that can turn a take-away pit stop into a destination.
Hand-rolled pastry, fresh cheese and a hot griddle are the key ingredients for the perfect gozleme, a traditional Turkish savoury pastry stuffed with cheese, spinach, beef, chicken or vegetables. The gozleme at Mama's Gozleme are handmade to order for freshness and they’re served sliced up in a box at Riverside Terrace at Federation Square—perfect for riverside dining with views of the Princess Bridge, Southbank skyline and the rowing sheds. After lunch explore Birrarung Marr parkland, featuring art installations and The Federation Bells. Further along, the William Barak pedestrian bridge leads directly to the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
The Little Mushroom Co.
Melbourne’s markets are famed far and wide and mightiest among them is the historic Queen Victoria Market. It has a mega shed lined with fresh fruit and vegetable stalls, an old-school tiled deli section, butcher shops and some of the city’s best seafood stalls. These producers keep good company with The Little Mushroom Co., a food truck that cashes in on a gourmet crowd tempted by big fat field mushrooms cooked whole with herbs and spices in an oversized black pan. Favourites include pulled mushroom (on a brioche bun with homemade smoky barbeque sauce, slaw and a melted cheese slice), mushroom corn tortillas (gluten free) and a breakfast burger with mushroom, haloumi and egg, the perfect morning heart-starter.
Hot flames from the wood-fired oven burn inside Soul Kitchen day and night. This big black pizza truck with a prime position outside the yellow-spired Arts Centre Melbourne, serves up true Italian pizza with a thin base and puffed up crusty edges. Menu options include the Italian Job with a San Marzano (tomato) base, pork and fennel sausage and broccoli or The Bosco with a bianca (olive oil and mozzarella) base, basil, sopressa salami and red peppers. Cushioned milk crates are laid out on the pavement for casual dining or cross the road to the picnic-perfect Botanic Gardens.
There’s no missing the bright orange Mr Burger trucks when they pull-up curbside at various Melbourne locales at lunchtime. Owners Myles Munro and Daragh Kan are serious about dishing out true American style hamburgers, using juicy meat patties and melty cheese as a base for tummy-grumbling additions—mustard, jalapeno pickles and bacon. Naughty asides include pizza chips with pepperoni, mushrooms and cheese. The red paved steps at Federation Square provide people-watching pews, burger in hand, or settle into the deckchairs in front of the outdoor big screen.
Sliders on Tyres
To the uninitiated, sliders are like burgers, but smaller and with a reputation for being more gourmet—the perfect combo for half-Aussie, half-Italian owner and chef Owen Scungio of Sliders on Tyres. The classic cheeseburger with a beef patty might be his crowd pleaser, so too the southern fried chicken wings and homemade hot sauce, but given the slider’s small stature, there’s no shame in having two. Mix it up with pulled barbeque chicken, trucker gravy and rocket or calamari, lettuce and lemon mayonnaise and add hand-cut chips. While you’re chowing down, check out the local scene. St Kilda is a grungy-cool beachside suburb perfect for shopping, drinking, live music, water sports and ice-cream on the beach.