Written by Leigh-Anne Wrighter
The Hungry Wolf - Crown Street, Wollongong
When you walk into the Hungry Wolf, little brother to Wollongong's whiskey bar Howlin Wolf, you feel like you've discovered the ultimate gem. It is where you would want to go to spend time with good friends.
Maybe it's the ultra cool and friendly bar staff who ooze knowledge on all things liquid or it's the chilled out atmosphere that invites good vibe conversation but the one thing that pulls it all together is the food! It will keep you coming back again and again. I mean if I ever go missing - this is where i'll be.
Serving up a mix of American-style eats and Asian fare, once I set eyes on the the beef brisket and Korean fried chicken, the Howlin Wolf had won me over. Let's just say my taste buds were having a party and they didn't want to leave.
I had the chance to ask Chefs Johnny and Angus a couple of questions about themselves and the style of food they bring to the Hungry Wolf.
Tell us a bit about yourself, where you have come from, where you have worked previously, how you come to be at Hungry Wolf.
Johnny: My name is Johnny, I moved to Sydney to do my apprenticeship and when I got qualified I felt like moving back to Wollongong and applying what I learned at places like Fratelli’s Fresh and White Horse in Surrey Hills. I helped to start up a venue in town called The Three Chimneys and recently moved to a bar called Pepe’s at North Beach. That brings me to where I am now.
Angus: I’ve been cooking for a few years now, anyone that knows me can attest to my love for food. I was lucky enough to have a great head chef and role model in Joshua Marks for the duration of my apprenticeship at La Cucina. I learned a lot of my good habits in the kitchen from the time I spent there. I also worked at the Chifley Hotel and The Three Chimneys, which is where I met Johnny.
What was the inspiration behind the Hungry Wolf menu?
Angus: The menu that we’ve written is all about bold flavours that come from Texas style BBQ mixed up with flavour combinations, ingredients and techniques that have come from our combined experiences as chefs and our own food passions.
Johnny: Fast, with a focus on quality and freshness.
How would you describe your style of cooking?
Johnny: Versatile, I’ve worked in a variety of venues which had different demands on me as a chef, which has given me a broad range of experience.
Angus: I like to emphasize the flavours of the ingredients that I’m working with. I have quite a heavy Italian and French influence in my cooking.
Do you have a signature dish?
Angus: For me the ramen is something that I love. It’s hearty and comforting and is perfect for lunch or dinner during winter. I remember during the time I spent in South Korea my host mother would cook us ramen with an egg poached in the broth.
Johnny: Fried Tomato and Buffalo Mozzarella (An American play on a caprese salad).
What is your favourite ingredient?
Angus: I have to agree with Johnny here, mushrooms are fantastic, they are so versatile and full of flavor. On top of their versatility they also have such a wide range of flavours and varieties. You can just do so much with them.
What ingredient can you not live without in the Hungry Wolf kitchen?
Johnny: Vinegars, from mayos and dressings to pickling.
Angus: Herbs. We use a variety of herbs in every dish that we cook. They provide so much flavour and help to emphasize the natural flavours of other ingredients.
What would be your last request dish?
Angus: It’s funny, this question seems like it’d be an obvious or easy choice but for me, but having to choose one meal out of so many possibilities is not easy. I don’t even want to face the prospect of having to choose a last meal. To be honest at the moment I’d probably choose a traditional shoyu ramen with hand made noodles but if you ask me in a few months I will have changed my mind, and I’ll be passionate about something else.
Johnny: Beef Stroganoff
What do you love about the bar/café scene in Wollongong?
Johnny: Watching it grow over the last couple of years and the sense of community between the venues.
Angus: I think that the Café/Bar scene in Wollongong has so much potential and since I started working here I have found that the scene has consistently grown and flourished.
What is your idea of happiness?
Johnny: Sunday arvos, Beers, Mates and occasional Waves.
Angus: Spending time with my friends, my girlfriend and my family. Preferably while having a good meal.
How do your meals compliment what’s on offer from Hungry Wolf’s big brother Howlin’ Wolf?
Johnny: The American style food we do complements the aesthetic and the back shelf of the bar.
Angus: The general theme of the food that we do, especially at dinner complements the bars fantastic selection of whiskeys.
The Hungry Wolf
53-61 Crown Street
Wollongong NSW 2500
53-61 Crown Street
Wollongong NSW 2500
Telephone: 0417 265 272
Open for lunch 11am-3pm Monday to Saturday, dinner from 5pm-9pm Wednesday to Sunday.
Visit Hungry Wolf on Facebook.