You haven't been out in Sydney unless you've eaten a ‘Tiger' at Harry's Café de Wheels in the wee hours.
Sitting on a bench off the mean-streets of Woolloomooloo, looking over the black water past the naval ships to the twinkling city nightscape and spearing a plastic fork into a high-hat meat pie piled with mushy peas, creamy mash and neon-stewed gravy is a potent reminder of what a stunningly livable city we inhabit.
Since 1938, cabbies, sailors, gourmands, pie-eyed party animals and celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Colonel Sanders and Elton John have made this humble pie cart a truly unique late-night meal mecca. Harry's might just be the last bastion of pure Sydney dining. Once, street cafés ruled our footpaths - you couldn't go two steps without running into a food cart. These days it's more about silver spoon than greasy spoon. That's why a fork sticking out of the top of a pie, a fistful of pastry, a paper bag with the corners filling with gravy is a dining experience that sticks (and stains). Here, the shiniest of silvertails and the bluest of blue collars are found communing over hot food, legs a-danglin' over the wharf where the fish lie in expectant wait for pastry flakes.
Fact is, owner Michael Hannah's cart offers what every self-respecting Sydneysider wants at sunset and sunrise. Nowadays they sell hotdogs too, a move introduced in the 70s for American sailors. But really, it's all about hot pies that come chunky with real peppery meat and dripping with gravy goodness and iridescent extras, rather than the bog-standard yellow pastry and mystery gloop you find at most bakeries. Sitting on the waters' edge of town, a Tiger in one hand, and perhaps a first mate in the other, is quintessential Sydney to its bootstraps. Go on. Dig in.