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BOOK REVIEW: This Could Get Messy by James Wirth

| 19 November 2015 | 1 Reply

BOOK REVIEW: This Could Get Messy by James Wirth

Murdoch Books
October 2015
Hardback, $45.00
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar



This Could Get Messy by James Wirth

What do you do when you’re a madwikkid wiggywiggywoo DJ having “a criminally good time being paid to travel the world and wreak our own special brand of havoc,” and then decide to settle down in Sydney and do something more solid with your life? In James Wirth’s case, he formed a group of idealists and set about using his wiggywoggywoo money to create the Drink ‘n’ Dine concept, eventually taking over nine fallen-on-hard-times venues in a few short years and rebranding each in their own individual, stylish, unorthodox fashion.

Wirth fully admits that not all of their wacky ideas work, but they have built a team of more than 200 hospitality professionals who, together, weed out the less successful concepts and fully develop the good stuff, resulting in this collection of food and drink which – as the title makes abundantly clear – could get messy.

You see, messy food is good sometimes. We don’t always want to eat nouveau cuisine silver served onto a Royal Doulton plate. Hell – getting messy over a few drinks with friends is good sometimes too. The best therapy in the world, in fact. Put the two messes together and you have the makings of some of your fondest memories when you’re older.

So the Drink ‘n’ Dine crew started fusing seemingly disparate elements together to create food that is not only tasty, but fun. And which doesn’t give a good cahoot for a few splashes here and there.

There’s bacon & pineapple popcorn with Japanese spices. Shut up – it’s awesome. Korean-style barbecued rib meat stuffed into a Bolivian empanada. Tacos and bammies and bings and arepas (all variations on the same theme, hailing from Mexico, Jamaica, China and South America respectively) with mouth watering fillings/toppings like soft-shell crab with sriracha hot sauce mayo, kung pao chicken, salt & pepper tofu, popcorn prawn with banana ketchup and coffee & cola braised brisket. Face it: you’re hungry already.

There’s a whole chapter dedicated to burgers, sandwiches and hot dogs, as well as a tip of the cap to those more ‘out there’ ideas which may have appealed only to a select few, such as fried lobster donut, meat pie burger, and fried chicken waffle on a stick (these are featured as photos only)

So-hot-right-now U.S. barbecue gets a look in with brisket and pulled pork, jerk chicken, whole Jamaican fried fish and boiled snow crab all joining the feast. Nachos, salads and a belt-bursting variety of desserts all get their time to shine (a nacho-themed dessert twist of waffles, popcorn, nuts, cream, jelly and a rainbow of sweets is a delight that will have big and small kids’ eyes popping) and there’s even a section dedicated to some funky 3pm breakfast ideas which should help the pounding in your head subside.

Category: Book Reviews

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