In the mood for something other than Asian but not too pricey, I discovered this hip little place on a laneway on Little Collins. Wandering along Little Collins, this laneway of hipsters and Friday night drinkers burst with animation from the everyday streets of Melbourne.
The tiny laneway is lit up by strings of jars, with the Chuckle Park truck at the end for you to order food. Wooden tables with plants and bright red stools are scattered for a limited number of people to sit.
Chuckle Park is owned by and located next to the bar, New Guernica. Luckily for us, they were full of people for Christmas celebrations, and we received tickets for a complimentary drink on the way in to the Chuckle Park laneway. We were informed at the bar that this would be a shot, we have no idea what it was but we enjoyed it because it tasted nice like apple (they called it their appletiser promo on their entrance board).
After this we went back downstairs to loiter in the laneway and wait for a table at Chuckle Park. It didn’t take too long and we swooped in on a table as some people were leaving. Then came the usual tough decision of what to eat!
Their menu can be described as Spanish-inspired, with a short yet simple selection. We ended up with three pulled pork rolls and one meatball wrap and our table number was provided on a pebble (above). We also couldn’t resist their fantastic looking cocktail jars so we ordered a jar of raspberry mojito (Bacardi, raspberry liqueur, fresh lime and mint, $35) and a fruity mocktail.
The pulled pork roll was surprisingly quite spicy, and we discovered the meatball wrap was too. On closer inspection the items are more detailedly described as pulled pork roll with slow spicy pork, cheese, walnut, fennel and slaw ($10) and tasty meatballs in pita wrap with authentic tomato spiced sauce, cheese and spinach ($10).
They didn’t seem to cut back on any ingredients and it proved a naturally messy meal. As they didn’t hold back on the meat, the spicy fillings satisfied our bellies. The pork was nice and tender and the burgers oozed with a bit of sauce as we tried to keep them together, thus the wrap wasn’t as troublesome.
The cocktail jar may look large, but it technically holds around four or five drinks, so it was easily shared between three of us. There’s lots of ice so the raspberry flavour was more outdone by the mint leaves.
I asked if they did mocktails and so they provided their standard drink, with all their fruit juices and more mixed together. The flavour is hard to describe with so many juices involved but with an abundance of fruity fragrances and a dash of sour aftertaste, it seemed to taste more interesting than the cocktail.
Overall, it’s a great little place and provides a unique vibe compared to a standard bar or restaurant. If you can’t stand smokers you might find it a little claustrophobic being in such a small, enclosed space yet outdoors. The meals are impressive for a small outfit and the idea seems to have proved popular.