Last week, The 5 to 9 Life was invited to a special Bloggers Dinner hosted by The Library Bag and Mr Scruff’s. It was perfect weather for a casual dinner on a Thursday evening, on the rare occasion whereby the clouds didn’t look like they were able to grey in colour and drizzle down on us.
Mr Scruff’s will surprise you the moment you walk into their doors – from the venue, to the menu, to the music and the overall vibes of the entire place.
Enter from the front of 60 Smith St, Collingwood and you’ll be greeted with tables and chairs outside and a bar inside, with various signs pointing upstairs and to the amenities. Look out into the hall heading to the back and as you walk further down, you’ll notice a lounge section dedicated to an area for the music and live entertainment that is often on show most evenings.
Keep walking and you’ll be led to the courtyard/beer garden – although you probably wouldn’t know it at first glance. Standing at the top of the stairs leading out the back, you’re faced with massive umbrellas covering the second dining area, which sort of provides a hint of mystery as to what those umbrellas are covering up.
With graffiti art gracing the walls by talented artist Conrad Bizjak, I couldn’t help but feel like the venue had more to offer than just great food and cold drinks. Seriously, the artwork alone is incredible. I’m a fan.
Opened up by three fellows, Mr Scruff’s is an immobolised food truck that celebrates casual dining at its best. With Summer just around the corner, Mr Scruff’s is the perfect spot to enjoy a nice feed, cold drinks, and impeccable artwork; as you nod your head along to the perfect soundtrack of hip hop and beats.
The Bloggers Dinner saw myself and a handful of Melbourne bloggers/creatives enjoy a Degustation Menu of the best of what Mr Scruff’s had to offer.
But first let me just get one thing out of the way: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I am not a food blogger in the slightest but I do love food! 😀 So forgive me, if my descriptions of each meal are a little bit ordinary.
Moving on, Mr Scruff’s menu is perfectly split into different portion sizes/sections depending on how hungry you are: jars, little boxes, big boxes and of course, sweet boxes.
We were offered a taste of each of the categories, kicking things off with mason glass “Jars” of ‘Edamame (with chilli salt)’. And who doesn’t love Edamame? There’s always different varieties of how Edamame is seasoned too – spicy, sweet, salty or just plain – but the chilli salt was definitely a nice subtle surprise.
Spoiled with choices from the “Little Box” menu, we were offered three dishes. First, came a small box of ‘Mini Croquetas (filled with goat’s cheese and corn)’. Oh my goodness. There was only enough for us to have one each, but I could have easily finished a small box of those on my own. Absolutely delicious! Highly recommended. I’m seriously salivating just thinking about them haha.
The ‘Confit Lamb Ribs (with Machego cheese, green herb and smoked almond salsa)’ was waiting for us next and the meat practically fell off the bone as we delved in. I’m not usually a fan of ribs, but I think Mr Scruff’s may have charmed his way in with me with that dish. Mmm..
On Tuesday evenings, Mr Scruff’s offers a 1kg bucket of their very popular ‘Korean Fried Chicken Wings (with chilli and sesame soy)’ for only $14, but seeing that we had a rather extensive menu to get through, we were offered a mini bucket of ‘Chicken Wings’ to sample. So, how was it? I hear you ask. As cliché as this may sound, it was finger lickin’ good. We were literally licking the sauce from our fingers! Who cares about napkins! The mixture of sesame soy and chilli pretty much drowned each piece of chicken in the bucket, so much so that the spices left my lips tingling for a short while afterwards, but nothing that a cold drink couldn’t fix, right?
Only halfway through the menu and we were offered our next dish, taken from the “Big Box” Menu: ‘Soft Shell Crab Tacos (with capsicum and corn salsa, lettuce and chipolte salsa)’. I love tacos and I love Japanese so I thought the fusion of these two cuisines was genius! Every bite was bursting with flavour. Every. Damn. Bite.
The ‘Beef Burger (with cheese, lettuce, Mr Scruff’s special sauce, pickles and onion)’ was next. Again, the offer was slightly smaller than what would normally be served but I understand now, why, friends of mine who have visited Mr Scruff’s before have only ever ordered the ‘Beef Burger’ and nothing else. I think it has something to do with Mr Scruff’s special sauce. Pause.
By this time, we were definitely getting full. I know I was. And yet, Mr Scruff’s had more to give, sneaking in a box of ‘Poutine Chips (with cheese, gravy and bacon)’. Now, if you’ve ever been to the US/Canada, you’ll know how deadly delicious these are. But by that stage, I was struggling. It became more of a dish that you picked at because it was there on the table right in front of you, rather than a dish that could have been properly enjoyed.
Finally, it was time for my favourite part of the meal – dessert or as Mr Scruff’s calls it: “Sweet Box”. The menu offers two choices and we were lucky enough to have both – ‘Peppermint and Chocolate Pudding Pop’ and ‘Hazelnut & Cherry Ice Cream Sandwich’.
You’re probably wondering how I could have possibly eat anything else by that stage, but as they say, there’s ALWAYS room for dessert. And that definitely rings true with me. I opted for the ‘Peppermint and Chocolate Pudding Pop’ and soon as I bit into it, I knew I had made the right decision. The taste reminded me of when I was younger eating ice-cream after school. I always loved mint choc-chip ice-cream and this was a modern take on it. Delicious. Thanks for bring back the old-school memories, Mr Scruff’s!
By 9.30pm dinner was over, and you could tell by that stage, everyone was ready to go home and get to bed. As half the table left to head home, the other half (the half that I was sitting at) stayed back a little while and tried to finish our drinks. It didn’t work out too well. We were so tired and full. It was the perfect combination of too much food and drinks which ultimately resulted in the best food coma. Mr Scruff’s must have been watching from the corner of his eye, because just as were deciding to leave, an expresso shot was placed down in front of each of us as a nightcap. A perfect way to end the night.
Mr Scruff’s definitely knows how to impress. As a hip-hop lover, my only complaint would be that I couldn’t really hear the music, but maybe that was suppressed by the exciting chatter of the packed crowd. All in all, it was a great night filled with delicious food and a great chance to connect with Melbourne’s thriving blogging community.
So the defining question of this review is: Who exactly is Mr Scruff’s? My theory was that it was one of the co-owners, because they each have a scruffy beard, but then again what fellow in Melbourne doesn’t?
But in actual fact? Well, you’re just going to have to head down to 60 Smith St, Collingwood to find out! 😉
Keep up to date with their special events happening each evening via their Facebook Page. I definitely wanna head back and check out SoulClap Saturdays, Thirst Thursdays or Half-Price-Hood-Wednesdays. Anyone keen on being my +1? 🙂
60 Smith St, Collingwood
Thursday- Saturday 12pm-4am
*Special thanks to The Library Bag and Mr Scruff’s for the invitation.