What do you get, when a Donner Kebab has “special relations’” with a
Burrito who has mixed Asian heritage?
I’m not sure how many people have actually eaten here (although on the counter there are Polaroid pics of famous people who have), or how many people have actually walked past this place as it’s literally at the ‘end of the line’! But Griddle King is our quintessential definition of a ‘Hidden Gem’!
I can’t remember why I initially added Griddle King all those months ago to my list of 100+ Places to try? As I literally don’t know what a “Griddle” is meant to be (and Google isn’t much help either, and the link to Griddle King’s brand story results in a 404 error message). And when we showed up today, afterwards I found out that we even went to the wrong Griddle King store (they have another store in Broadway). Oops.
If you still don’t know where it’s located, do you know the Devonshire underground tunnel at the South end of Central station? Yeah? Walk through the tunnel, where you re-emerge to open air (Henry Dean Plaza), keep walking on down to the second tunnel. When everyone else splits off to Railway Square, or the escalators up to George Street, just keep walking on. And when you’ve almost reached the end, there is Griddle King on your left hand side!
It’s not much to look at, as it is a takeaway store in the wall of a tunnel after all, with little foot traffic. If you’re game enough to enter, study the menu displayed above the counter and when you’re ready to order, step-up and place your orders.
By origin, I’m guessing that Griddle King is serving a type of Taiwanese street food? However from the “lunch wraps” category, the filling options you can choose from are borrowed from different Asian cuisines, like Japanese karaage, Korean spicy pork, Thai hot pepper chicken, Cumin beef or even an Australian beef patty filling. I elected the Miss Kim (Korean chilly pork, chilly mayo sauce, fresh lettuce, coriander, sweet and sour carrots, and crackers) while my wife stayed with the Taiwanese theme and ordered the Taiwanese braised beef (Taiwanese style Braised beef with stewed carrots, fresh lettuce, sweet and sour carrots, and crackers). And we ordered a “Green Tea Yakult” with agar topping to share (total cost: $23.30).
Griddle King is a takeaway store, but they do have some internal seating (3 tables for 2 against a bench), so we elected to dine in.
As we waited for our food to be freshly made, we took in the feel of the place- reminding us slightly of a Doner Kebab store. But instead of Middle Eastern proprietors, there were two Mandarin speakers behind the counter. From where we were seated, we could easily see our food being made. The wraps are made like crepes; an egg batter is poured into a circular hotplate, and it looks like it takes a bit of a skill to make the things. We tried our best not to “notice” that the microwave was used several times to most likely de-frost our fillings which were going into our wraps. But it was hard to trick ourselves that the microwaved produce was going to be used to feed another customer, as we were the only patrons there for the duration of our meal……. But when the food was ready (they call you over to pick it up from the counter- no table service here), you really can’t tell that the meat had been microwaved. I’m being serious, no tongue in cheek here.
Along with the feel of a Doner Kebab store, the wraps even came in the same long heat-proof bags as Kebabs! And as we really didn’t know what to expect e.g. would they be served on a plate like a French crepe, or folded in half like a huge taco, but we were pleased to find that they were rolled-up, ends tucked in like a Mexican Burrito which made them easy to eat.
First bite! OMG! The crepe skin was thick but super soft, like a thicker version of a burrito skin, but so much tastier! As it was an egg batter, and methinks spring onion oil is an ingredient in the batter? Making it a pleasant surprise, as most skins, Kebabs or Burritos, are tasteless. But this wrapper skin was so tasty all on its own!
And because I had a spicy Korean sauce, the flavours were intense (a good intensity), the pork was good (you couldn’t tell that it had been microwaved), the sauce was added liberally (but it didn’t leak or get messy), and the lettuce and coriander were both really fresh!
My wife and I exchanged bites, admittedly mine was more flavourful. But hers was still authentic tasting, just like getting a dish of Taiwanese brisket placed inside a wrap. And the Green Tea Yakult was really good, the Yakult in it gave it just enough flavour to change the entire taste of Green tea, while the agar topping added a nice chewy texture.
I fully smashed mine, and as I waited for my wife to finish hers, I probably drank most of our share of the drink. Sorry babe. But all the while, I was pretty jubilant, as not often do you find a place that looks underwhelming, but the food absolutely surpasses your expectations! I just hope that business is a lot better on the weekdays, or uni students who live above in the uni accommodation come down on a regular basis for procrastination snacks. As all the while we were there, we were the only customers, except for someone who ordered a dessert crepe using a mobile food delivery service. I shouldn’t judge….. But you’d have to be pretty lazy to get a single Banana Nutella crepe delivered to your door-step for lunch……
Our end verdict, 4.5 Stars from 5! (3 from 3 for Food, as it was perfect, it delivered on everything it stated to be); 0.5 from 0.5 for Service (we exchanged less than 10 words with the staff, but they were efficient); 0 from 0.5 for Atmosphere (it was a takeaway joint after all, but the only ambiance in the store was the hum of the refrigerator); and 1 from 1 for Value for money (where can you fill 2 people +a drink for under 25 bucks these days? Griddle King would be the answer!).
So what do you get, if a Doner Kebab copulates with a Burrito with mixed Asian heritage?
The answer would be a lunch wrap from Griddle King! It took DNA from both, but the outcome is something completely unique! And so much better! I can’t wait to go back and try other flavours (and categories- besides the lunch and dessert crepes, they also do breakfast wraps and fried Chinese breadsticks)! Griddle King, you my friend will be added onto our ‘Hidden Gems’ register! If you haven’t tried one before, I highly recommend it! I’m pretty confident that you’ll like it as well. *Nods*.
Griddle King Central- Saturday 9 March (4.5 Stars)
PH: (02) 8060 8779
Shop 4 Marcus Clark Building, Haymarket NSW
Mon-Thurs 8am – 7.30pm
Fri 8am – 4.30pm
Sat 9am – 3pm