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Monday, July 04, 2011

The Dip at GOODGOD, Sydney

EDIT: The Dip has closed

There's no denying it. Sydney is currently riding the wave of an American food obsession. Pulled pork. Hot dogs. Nachos. Sydneysiders have taken up snacking with the hunger of a growing teenager.

The Dip, hidden within the bowels of the GOODGOD nightclub, has all your cheese-laden carbohydate cravings covered. The former La Campana site is barely recognisable, converted into a dark and cosy bar with neon lighting.

The Dip

Behind The Dip you'll find Andrew Levins and Bianca Khali. Levins, a successful Sydney DJ who  co-founded the Heaps Decent music label to support underprivileged youth, is not a qualified chef. It was his legendary weekend barbecues, involving feasts of slow-cooked pulled pork and American-style hot dogs, and the egging on of his chef mates that prompted him to make the leap into a commercial kitchen. 

The ordering counter

Levins' casual approach is perfect for the style of food, and the people ordering it. The menu is brief and approachable, with most options easily shared between friends.  It's also visually well-designed, with clear descriptions and fonts that echo the American diner theme.

Tonight is my second visit, after attending the opening night launch party several weeks before with 250 other guests. Afterwards we'd joined the silent disco in the danceteria out the back, a surreal experience involving personal headphones and the option of switching frequencies between two in-house DJs.

Sol Mexican beer

There's no table service here, but it's only a short walk -- and wait -- at the bar for beers. Food orders are taken at The Dip counter at the opposite end of the room, with payment made upfront.

Chevy Chase punch jug $28
Organic Vodka O, lemon barley water, zesty lemon bitters and lemon wheels

A couple of Mexican beers quench our thirst as we wait. Punch jugs come in a variety of concoctions, including the Pat Cash Coolah (organic Vodka O, green coolah and lemon rounds), Cherry Moon (cherry cola, Mt Gay rum and red glace cherries) and the Wild Combination (sake, black raspberry chambord and apple juice).

Salsa fries $7
Hand cut steak fries with fresh tomato salsa and white cheese

Between the six of us, we manage to cover most of the menu, particularly when Levins sends out a couple of complimentary extras from the kitchen. The salsa fries are the first to arrive, hand cut fries covered in tomato salsa and shredded white cheese. It's a combination I'd failed to appreciate at the launch party, mostly because the salsa falls off as soon as you pick up a chip. I get frustrated like that, but then I also naturally recoil at the thought of deliberately making a crunchy chip soggy.

Chip n Dip $7
Corn chips with grilled watermelon salsa and jalapeno cream

The grilled watermelon salsa is hard to dig out of its petite metal container, and few people realise it's watermelon until I point it out on the menu. It's a little over-macerated to the point of being soggy, but we do enjoy its smoky sweetness.

Fries $6
Handcut steak fries

Handcut steak fries are more to my liking, served with a pot of cheese sauce that is perfect for dipping.

Pulled pork nachos $15
Corn chips topped with 12 hour smoked pork, pinto beans, tomato salsa, bbq sauce, lime cream and cheese

Pulled pork nachos are the perfect marriage of carbs, fat and protein: crunchy corn chips smothered in tender shreds of slow-cooked smoky pork and laden with a river of molten cheese. There's a generous serve of pork on the nachos, and the tomato salsa, barbecue sauce, lime cream and pinto beans add contrast and texture. 

Southern smoke $12
12 hour smoked pulled pork sandwich with bbq beans, apple and cabbage slaw and spicy bbq sauce

The pulled pork is also piled into sandwiches, a soft flour bun holding a huddle of pork, barbecue beans and a refreshing scoop of slaw made from shredded cabbage and apple. The mixture is saucy and a little messy, but good fast food should always leave you with messy fingers and a dribble of sauce down your chin.

Apple and cabbage slaw $6

We believe in a balanced diet, and order the apple and cabbage slaw, and the grilled greens as some form of fat-clearing penance. The slaw is quite mild on its own, and the grilled greens feels more like an Asian stir-fry with a surprise but welcome appearance of caramelised brussel sprouts.

Grilled greens $8
Greens of the day with coriander and vinaigrette

Lev's Dawg $12
Smoked kosher hot dog with chipotle mayo, fresh tomato salsa, grilled yellow peppers and American mustard on a steamed bun

Lev's Dawg is one of the closest American-style hot dogs you can find in Sydney. The smoked hot dog has a char to the skin, jammed into a soft brioche bun with tomato salsa, finely diced roasted yellow capsicum and a squiggle of American mustard across the top. It's worth the visit just to sink your teeth into this.

Ice cold guac $10
Sweet avocado ice cream, strawberry salsa and waffle chips

The popular toffee apple has now been discontinued from the menu leaving only two options for dessert. The ice cold guac is much less intimidating than it sounds - in fact we struggle to detect much avocado flavour in the promised sweet avocado ice cream, finding a yoghurty tang more than anything else.

Cookies n Cream $10
Salted caramel ice cream between two chocolate molasses cookies with hot chocolate fudge

Cookies n cream, on the other hand, always pleases. It looks like a simple ice cream cookie sandwich but it's the salted caramel ice cream in the middle that is deliriously addictive, simultaneously sweet and salty with a buttery richness.

Levins in the kitchen

If you poke your head into the kitchen window, you're bound to find Levins. He may look serious at work, but he's also the master of the photobomb.

Levins says hi!

Polaroid peeps

Good food, good friends and beer. Goodgod, what more could you ask for?

View Larger Map
The Dip @ Goodgod Small Club on Urbanspoon

55 Liverpool Street, Sydney
Opening hours:
Wednesday and Thursday 5pm-11pm
Friday 5pm-12midnight
Saturday 6pm-12midnight

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Blue Plate Grill, Neutral Bay (American chilli dog, buffalo wings and pumpkin pie)
Duke Bistro, Darlinghurst (American tater tots and fried chicken)
Stitch Bar, Sydney (American hot dogs)
29 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 7/04/2011 01:55:00 am


  • At 7/04/2011 3:00 am, Blogger Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said…

    The hotdog was the favourite when friends and I dropped in so, naturally, we had to order a second round!

  • At 7/04/2011 4:40 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    zomg the pork nachos! i have dreams about them!

  • At 7/04/2011 4:42 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    The beginning of your blog makes me LOL! Why would anyone be obsessed with American bar/pub food? It is so bad compared to other ethnic and regional foods! I hope this Sydney food wave is short lived because this style of food is making the USA one of the most obese, diabetic and heart disease ridden countries in the world. Anyway, I would not like the salsa and French fries, I can see the frustration and sogginess - not good eats. I do love French fries with dipping sauce. The pulled pork nachos and the pulled pork sandwiches look better than anything you can get in the USA, and I live in the South USA where slow smoked pulled pork is the regional specialty. I don't like USA style slaw, the texture, flavor, and too much mayo. The hot dog looks so much better than dogs we can get here. And the grilled greens look delicious, and of course it is too healthy to be in any USA bar/pub food list, but it would be my choice to eat.

  • At 7/04/2011 7:30 am, Anonymous tania@mykitchenstories said…

    Yeh, American all rpound. Sombody has to make money for them. Pictures are great especially Levins

  • At 7/04/2011 7:52 am, Blogger Gourmet Getaway said…

    OMG!!! Heart attach city here we come!! Everything looks so good/bad!!

    The bowl of peas really stood out for me, I would hope I was a good girl and had a bowl of those to soak up some of the fat.

    How weird is the silent nightclub, I'd we go just to see that!

  • At 7/04/2011 8:16 am, Blogger Stephcookie said…

    Okay I really want that hotdog now. And the nachos. And the ice cream sandwich! Though that would be an extremely weird breakfast right now...

  • At 7/04/2011 8:41 am, Anonymous Dumpling Girl said…

    I really have to get here soon, just for the love of carbs, lol.

  • At 7/04/2011 8:48 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    If the American food obsession keeps growing Australians will "grow" too. At least portion sizes are not that big here yet.

  • At 7/04/2011 8:54 am, Blogger Mel said…

    I had no idea Levins wasn't a trained chef - his food is just so tasty, what a great job he's doing. The food you ordered looks a bit different to what was on offer a few weeks ago when we went - corn chips with watermelon salsa and jalapeno cream for example, and the streak fries with cheese sauce (which I want to eat RIGHT now)!

  • At 7/04/2011 9:05 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    Its 9am you had to make me hungry for The Dip at 9am on a Monday when I am stuck at work (at a Hospital mind you!) where there is only cafeteria food and bad at that..... awesome place loved it too

  • At 7/04/2011 9:11 am, Anonymous Tina@foodboozeshoes said…

    Yummo - cheesy carb overload! Love that he's not a professionally trained chef :)

  • At 7/04/2011 10:22 am, Blogger Michelle Chin said…

    The cookies and caramel desserts looks really really nice!

  • At 7/04/2011 10:26 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    everyone's doing the dip, I'm totally missing out! I'm really keen to try the pulled pork burger, mmmmm!

  • At 7/04/2011 11:14 am, Blogger Brenda said…

    Pulled pork, you can't go wrong....oh my stomach is growling at me!!

  • At 7/04/2011 12:09 pm, Anonymous Maureen said…

    GoodGod.. pulled pork in Australia and it's not made in my bbq?? Hallelujah!!

    I need to start walking to Sydney.

    To read this on the 4th of July too :) As a dual yank/aussie this place has my name all over it !!


  • At 7/04/2011 1:55 pm, Blogger R said…

    A very nice post.

    I've been living under a rock and seemed to have missed the US wave, but did notice the allure of pulled/shredded pork turning up everywhere, including 'The pie tin' (http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/70/1578156/restaurant/New-South-Wales/The-Pie-Tin-Newtown) where we went for lunch today.

    I mightn't have my finger on the gourmet pulse, but reading your blog is the next best thing.

    Loved the polaroid pics at the end of the post also.
    Great work.

  • At 7/04/2011 2:13 pm, Anonymous Hannah said…

    Salsa fries yes! And that guac ice cream dessert - I want in. Fingers crossed that the emergence of American-style restaurants will soon mean a bigger infiltration of American grocery store foods. I want my chocolate chip cookie dough peanut butter dairy-free coconut milk ice cream back!

  • At 7/04/2011 2:16 pm, Anonymous Nic@diningwithastud said…

    Southern smoke!!!! ***droool***

  • At 7/04/2011 2:36 pm, Anonymous john@heneedsfood said…

    I'm amazed at the current wave of Yankie food in this town as well. What's going on Sydney? Perhaps one day I'll drop by to top up my cholesterol levels. The cookies & cream looks a winner, oh my!

  • At 7/04/2011 2:46 pm, Anonymous Lex said…

    Finally some good looking hot dogs in town!! And there's no such thing as too much pulled pork around town; as the competition piles on we can start looking for the best tasting/best value!

    Would also love to get into that debate on why the US is so obese; Australia isn't that much better and we've got crazy multicultural selection of cuisines

  • At 7/04/2011 4:55 pm, Anonymous Jacq said…

    ooh pulled pork nachos and that hotdog! I could definitely go for some right now

  • At 7/04/2011 5:25 pm, Anonymous Gastronomous Anonymous said…

    oh i love pulled pork nachos! that would definitely go well right about now :)

  • At 7/04/2011 9:38 pm, Blogger Gianna@TheEmptyFridge said…

    i really do love the dip and i cant wait to go back for the steak fries!
    i hear so many inspiring stories about people who migrate to australia and crave for their traditional, ethnic and home grown meals..how convenient that this is what my childhood food memories are made of! Im celebrating this American craze - happy 4th of July!

  • At 7/04/2011 9:38 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hee hee suze eating all by herself. Mmmm could totally hit up some good American fare right now. More hot dogs and pulled pork I say!

  • At 7/05/2011 1:41 am, Blogger irene said…

    ooooohh the dawg looks sooo tempting!

  • At 7/05/2011 11:36 am, Blogger Georgia said…

    You had me at pulled pork nachos! I'm going there as soon as I possibly can!

  • At 7/06/2011 8:26 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "There's no denying it. Sydney is currently riding the wave of an American food obsession."

    I think the wave is over: South restaurant, Big Rig Diner, and the Counter Burger all closed up shop.

  • At 7/20/2011 12:42 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Agreed with Anon @ 7/06/2011 8:26 PM

    Counter Burger was the only place in Sydney I could get chilli fries too :(

    I dunno if I agree with paying $12 for a hot dog, considering they're about a quarter of that in New York... but everything's overpriced in Sydney, so I might try it for the novelty factor. :)

  • At 1/13/2012 5:21 pm, Anonymous Madam Wu said…

    I still haven't been here yet but when I go, I'll be sure to try some of those cheeky sounding cocktails!


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