It’s unavoidable – the Melbourne food truck revolution is taking over our carparks and festivals, slowly creeping into the northern suburbs and the St Kilda Road trailer parks of our culinary dreams. Gone are the dirty hot dogs and the Mr Whippys of times past – instead, 2014’s summer festival season saw Vietnamese baguettes battle it out with bratwursts and brioche sliders on wheels at outdoor music events all over the country.
One of the newest incarnations of this delightful phenomenon is Trailermade. Inspired by world travel from Europe through to Korea and Japan, partners Amy Roberts and Casey Norman are invoking international flavours to feed the foodie masses.
Visiting the Trailermade ladies at the Northcote Jamboree of a Friday eve, the first thing that struck me was the care with which their dishes had been put together, including the sourcing of the super-fresh, high-quality ingredients. This was immediately evident with the starter of homemade baba ganoush and hummus with handmade flat bread, warm and fresh off the griddle.
There are obvious strains of the Cumulus influence in Trailermade’s food, following Casey’s stint at the much-loved Melbourne institution. Cumulus’ clean and clever flavours are paralleled in Trailermade’s grain salad of quinoa, cracked wheat, green olives, peppers, mint, pomegranate and pistachio – a balanced combination of sour, sweet and salty.
In keeping with the theme of high-quality simplicity, the calamari and house-made aioli was a standout dish. No sight of a chewy, tough-fleshed mollusc here – this fresh Australian squid, sourced from Clamms, was melt-in-your-mouth, with a light coating of tapioca and rice flour, tossed in garlic powder and salt and with an unfussy aioli accompaniment that ensured the champion of the dish wasn’t overpowered.
The shawarma of shaved lamb, onion, iceberg lettuce, toum, that amazing homemade flat bread and garlic sauce hit the spot on a warm, music-filled Friday night. What set this apart was Amy and Casey’s sweet, tangy chilli sauce – Casey’s secret recipe that no amount of haranguing would have them reveal – full of fiery, orange-red flavour that really made this take on an old favourite pack a punch.
Don’t let the minimalist menu fool you – Trailermade’s simple fare and understanding that it’s not about fancy flourishes, but about the sourcing of quality, fresh ingredients that matter, made Trailermade’s offerings a welcome addition to Melbourne’s rapidly growing food truck landscape.