America. Home of the Free and Land of the Brave. God-fearing lovers of guns, and high fructose corn syrup. Inventors of the French fry (or ‘American fries’ as they call them in France) and, as I found one rainy fourth of July, kings of the barbecue.
I was recently back in Auckland and was keen to check out the fourth of July celebrations at the newly minted Street Food Collective in Ponsonby, however due to the sour weather there were a lot more patrons than places to put them at the SFC. And the large floor-to-ceiling sliding doors that opened onto the darkened interior of Miss Moonshine’s made the place look so warm and inviting.
Industrial chic permeates Miss Moonshine’s from the rough wooden and steel decor to the one and a half tonne barbecue puffing out delicious smokey aromas out back (unfortunately these aromas stayed with us well after we’d left due to poor ventilation). The wait staff were suitably kitted out in star-spangled get-ups and equally star-spangled personas which added to the air of Southern hospitality. Sharing is caring at Miss Moonshine’s; they offer an array of starters and sides to complement their barbecued wares and (most) of them are out of this world delicious. We started with a few loaves of their corn bread with burnt butter and my God it was brilliant. Unlike the cakey-sweet offerings I’d stumbled on haphazardly in New York, theirs is savoury, savoury savoury. Their loaf is crusted up beautifully with the added textured of cornmeal whilst its steaming, crumbly interior is studded with jalepenos.
The main event is a number of barbecued animals of different orders; there’s beef as brisket and as short rib, pork pulled and in belly form, and of course there’s chicken. We opted for the chicken and pulled pork, both delicious, the latter coming with fingers of oh-so-crunchy crackling. Although meat is the main attraction I found them competing for the spotlight when in the company of Miss Moonshine’s cauliflower cheese with truffle crumbs and pigtail fries. I always thought dousing a vegetable in a cheese sauce a rather gaudy way to convince people to eat them but they have theirs oh-so-right here; thick and luxurious without an ounce of grease (I know it’s in there, I just couldn’t taste it) or sickliness to it. And curly fries? If you opt for the shoe strings you’re a fool. The apple and mint slaw in theory was a nice idea but ended up being bland and lacking the tang we so wanted to off-set all the meat and richness.
This bunker of smoke and flesh is a welcome retreat from the smoothie-sipping, yoga-stretching hippies who have been squeezing the fun and danger out of eating out. Afterall, what’s more exciting, slurping kale juice or flirting with the possibility of a coronary artery bypass?
God Bless Amurica, and Miss Moonshine’s.
130 Ponsonby Rd