There’s a pure gut-level joy in eating at a place like Sloppies in Glebe. This is the night-time alter-ego of Wedge Espresso: once evening strikes, this narrow Tetris-block of a cafe gains an American accent and serves sloppy joes, which are burger buns loaded with super-braised “loose meat”. (If you’re a certain age, that phrase will come with bonus flashbacks of watching the sitcom Roseanne.)
This is food that has boundary issues – pick up a sloppy joe and all the ingredients slurp, spill and drip all over each other, but that’s part of the fun. At Sloppies, you might find yourself mopping up with a few serviettes after having The O.G. ($10), which slams together beef mince ragu and slaw; the Sloppy Pork ($10), pork shoulder slopped with chipotle mayo and mustard slaw; and The Yoko ($10), a vegetarian option that’s as high-mess and delightful – think sweet, rich miso eggplant chunks crammed with sesame slaw. It feels like Japanese cuisine redone as American drive-thru convenience. And in fact, at Sloppies, even if you’re eating in, your meal will come in a takeaway paper bag, just to complete the on-the-run, fast-food feel.
Will’s pick was The Darren ($13), the first of many “guest Sloppies” – this one is by chef Darren Templeman of Restaurant Atelier, from across the road. It was a squishy, super-charged combo of braised Kobe brisket, melted cheese, green tomato chutney, with some Japanese accents of miso and seaweed.
Will also loved the Pork Nuggets ($8), which are equal parts ludicrous and outright delicious. They’re made of pork chunks that are braised, compressed, coated in all-spice and then fried for maximum blowout flavour. They get dunked in a sweet and sour sauce that has a zippy, home-made apeal and may be a serious contender to a certain franchise’s offerings. (Oh and the sauce also does double-duty if you have a serve of chipotle fries that needs some condiment baptising.)
For me, the most dangerous selection on the Sloppies menu is the Peanut Butter and Crunchy Nut Corn Shake ($6). The first time I had it, I wrote on Instagram that it should be declared illegal in many countries because it’s so addictive. The shake is blitzed through with chunky peanut butter ice cream and lightly topped with crisp corn flakes on top. It’s a lot of fun overworking your straw as you sip.
Sloppies also has plans for licensed drinks – aka tinnies – but for now, you can also get “$3 yank dranks” like Mountain Dew Voltage, which tastes like a screwy, oversugared translation of the raspberry flavour advertised on the can. (We loved it, while also acknowledging that we would pay major nutitritional penance for consuming its stupidly enjoyable flavour.)
Also on the cards: Saturday night hours for Sloppies, which would make it a perfect pre-movie dinner spot, given its proximity to the Broadway cinemas. Currently, though, its doors are open Wednesday to Friday, 6-10pm. Order up, make a mess and don’t let any nutritional concern infiltrate your thoughts. This isn’t the kind of place to be an overserious killjoy – it’s called Sloppies, after all.
Sloppies (at Wedge Espresso), 53-55 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe (enter on Cowper Street). Follow Sloppies on Twitter.