What Does a Statue Eat?

CAPI x Saint Crispin

We sit down with Joe Grbac, head chef at Collingwood gem Saint Crispin, to go behind the scenes and talk tunes, food for statues, and his favourite regular. 

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Favourite local?
One guy who comes in with a different female partner every time. He’s awesome, a real down to earth Aussie. He sits on table 30 and looks over at the kitchen and just raves. Really really Aussie personality.

You were at Press Club before here. How instrumental was that place for you, did it evolve or did you evolve?
For me, the biggest thing about leaving Press Club was leaving George’s personality behind. At the end I was at a point where I was running the entire thing, the back and I had a solid grip on the front. George understood that, and with someone like him as your manager it’s hard to step away from that.

Are you on Insta?
No, twitter.

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Keeping it old school
One’s enough.

Biggest selling dish?
Our menu evolves,  there isn’t really anything except the OG Snap Crack and Pop –  a fancy version of pork scratchings. We cook it, dehydrate it, then crispy fry it. Comes up light and bubbly, the finally we season it with brown sugar. 

Tunes, how different is the set up playlist to the service playlist?
Very different – My wife’s in charge for service, for prep it’s generally more the kitchen boys. 

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Do you have ultimate veto power?
Yeah sometimes I come down and go hang on. My head chef is Irish and loves his punk, so if he plays some loud punk band I can’t get a handle it gets changed

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What are you into?
Music is such an important part of life to me and it is in the restaurant too, man. We’re up to about 40 playlists now. It’s so cool when you look up and you see a customer digging their food, digging the tunes and the environment,  and that’s the ultimate ‘I worked 90 hours for you.’

Most awkward thing  you’ve seen on the floor?
Table of four booked here. Only three show up, they all sit down and one guy unwraps a statue and put it on the chair. They ordered the statue food, it sat there and we had to clear the food – obviously it didn’t get eaten. At the end of the meal the statue got wrapped up and they walked out the door.

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And he paid for it? 
He paid for it, the whole thing – I couldn’t believe it. Have seen a few argy bargy arguments… One quite recently she was calling him every name under the sun, he sat there and copped it the whole dinner. They had the tasting menu, not kidding from before the first course they were arguing nearly at the top of their voices. He sat there and copped it the whole dinner and copped the bill too.

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Saint Crispin 
Find it at: 300 Smith Street, Collingwood
Give them a call on: 9419 2202
Check it all out here: http://www.saintcrispin.com.au

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