The eagle has landed.
Po’ Boy Quarter serves up the same Creole/New Orleans inspired food that has made Gumbo Kitchen a Melbourne food truck favourite. The food comes fast, the servings are huge, there a lot of deep-frying involved and their homemade barbecue sauce is smokey and addictive.
The shop is fairly small though the tiled street frontage is expansive, with glass shutters opening out to catch the breeze. The seating’s mainly high stools made for perching and as summer rolls around a back dining area will open up with a cocktail bar.
Obviously you shouldn’t look past the po’ boys – classic French bread sandwiches filled with any manner of ingredients from fried seafood to slow-cooked meats. We tried the Cajun battered catfish ($9.90) and the Mesquite smoked pulled pork ($12.90), the latter being the only po’ boy that doesn’t come with Louisiana hot sauce (though you can add as much heat as you like from the mind-bending selection of hot sauces on the counter).
The catfish was surprisingly juicy and not over-fried (they use Vietnamese basa) and the sandwich was kind of like a gastronomically interesting version of the illicit fish finger sandwich. If you’re scared of chilli don’t be put off by the Cajun/hot sauce elements – there was barely any heat in the sandwich.
The pulled pork was equally delicious with generous chunks of smoked meat sitting high up on a mound of slaw and topped with a slather of lick-the-plate-clean barbecue sauce.
Be warned that po’ boys are enjoyably messy affairs, with sauce dripping down your fingers and filling falling out the bottom.
If you want a fried side dish then veer past the french fries (which you can get anywhere) to the mac and cheese croquette (which you get rarely). It’s a fried disc that’s not for the faint-hearted – cheese, creamy and heavily crumbed, it’s an artery-clogger in every mouthful. Wash it down with a plastic baseball game tumbler of New Orleans lemonade – home made lemonade spiked with Peychaud’s Bitters for some subtle aniseed flavour ($5).
On my visit they didn’t have dessert available yet but I do recall the lemon icebox pie from Gumbo Kitchen days being quite delicious.
The crowd was pretty steady during lunch hour and I suspect that it gets busier as the night progresses. Po’ Boy Quarter serves up quick, cheap, filling food with a menu that satisfies the taste buds with loads of punchy Creole flavour. Plus there’s loads of fried stuff on the menu to soak up any alcohol-induced revelry as you party around Fitzroy!
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