Harry’s Café de Sydney

December 2008

If you live in Sydney and you haven’t been to Harry’s Café de Wheels, you haven’t really lived in Sydney. There’s even a seafood pie now (but nothing for vegans, see below).

The original, operated by Harry Evans, has been parked since 1938 on Cowper’s Wharf Road in Woolloomooloo. Evans closed for the duration of the war and reopened in 1945, then sold to Alex Koonya, who sold to current owner, Michael Hannah. Hannah has kept to the original formula but expanded the business.

One thing Mr Hannah has done is cleaned up the pie act: trans fatty acids have gone from the crusts, the meat is grass-fed topside mince and the whole operation is carefully monitored.

I once took Professor Bruce Craig, America’s hotdog historian, to Harry’s. He dismissed the hotdogs but loved the pies.

Harry’s latest cart is at Sydney’s international airport and the word is next stop is Los Angeles.

Here’s an interesting sidelight for food historians: Harry’s famous pie with peas plonks the mushy peas on top of the pie, the way they’re served in the north of England. Anyone familiar with the Adelaide pie floater (now available mainly at a pie cart outside the Casino on North Terrace) will know that in this version the pie sits on top of the mushy peas.

Some time ago, when researching Australian regional dishes, I concluded that this was the only example I could find, but then I learnt about Barossa Deutsch cooking.

Still, Harry’s and the wonderful New York Restaurant in the Cross (18 Kellett St, Ph 9357 2772) are there to remind us where we came from.

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