Mr Crackles first opened in December 2012, in Sydney. Almost every night since then, crowds have dutifully formed outside the shops, queuing for pork rolls laced with shatteringly crunchy crackling.
It’s no different at Mr Crackles Melbourne, which opened in the CBD in mid-2018. It’s been slammed since day dot. The formula hasn’t changed over the years.
Its most popular item, the Crackles classic, is a roll packed with crispy-skinned, slow-roasted five-spice pork belly with Vietnamese salad. Another hit roll is The Bogan (questionable name), which comes loaded with pork belly, chips, gravy and cheese. Outside of sandwiches, one of the most popular items on the menu is the onion rings, which come with French onion dip.
Apart from the service, there’s nothing really fast about this fast-food joint. Everything from the mayo down to the pickles is made in-house; only the bread is outsourced from a baker. It makes the preparation a timely process. The Hong Kong-style barbeque pork, for example, is marinated for days. Lamb is salted for 24 hours, then cooked slowly for another eight.
Inside, things are tight: the interior is dictated by function. Seating is limited to a dozen stools because the eight ovens and cold room out back take precedence.