Review: Marketta Street Food

23 Hillcrest Parade, Miami, every Saturday 4.00pm – 10.00pm

Situated in the laneway running through the arts precinct of Rabbit + Cocoon, this event is part market, part street food, part pop up, part festival of food. With council bylaws planting food trucks firmly on private land, the Marketta provides a weekly meeting place; a mix of food trucks, stalls and a licensed bar at a foodie event which has been hugely popular from day one. Here’s a snapshot of some of our favourite stalls:

Wildfire Pizza Napoletana (Food truck)
No longer at Marketta | stay tuned for new location

Think ‘pizza’ and most of us think of ‘place’. Wrong!

Don’t take it too hard. We were wrong too! Using an imported Italian oven with a Napolitana-shaped dome, Justin Palumbo’s pizzas follow Napolitana principles of authenticity: ‘00’ flour imported from Campagna in the Naples region, hand-rolled dough topped with San Marzano D.O.P. tomatoes topped with Fior de Latte cheese (rather than buffalo mozzarella) cooked for between 60 and 90 seconds in the oven! The crust is just right, slightly chewy with a smoky overlay, its flavours melding with tomato and melting mozzarella.

Learning his trade from a Napoli-born chef, Justin went out on his own two years ago, using a trailer for mobility. That’s good news for all of us! Based at Miami Marketta every Saturday, it’s possible to book Wildfire for events such as family celebrations, street parties or sporting events. You can give your driver a rest and enjoy luscious pizza, served at a venue of your choice!

Souvlaki (Stall)

It is difficult to miss the Souvlaki at Miami Marketta as the stand resembles an ancient Greek temple, complete with stone-like columns, and it always seems to have the biggest line of hungry punters who return again and again to satisfy their craving.

Kosta Rotos is the man behind the grill who spends 4.5 hours cooking the meat before it is ready to be eaten. The caramelised and tender meat is marinated overnight and has a glorious, well developed flavour. In asking about the marinade Kosta only smiles and intriguingly reports it is an old and secret Greek recipe, one that he is definitely not able to share. At Marketta Kosta likes to keep things simple and delicious, offering only one choice of meat on the night, either lamb or chicken, that is served in your choice of a wrap or on a plate. With souvlaki this good surely the Greek Gods of Mount Olympus would line up to try them.

JR’s Smokehouse BBQ (Food truck)

You’ve never tasted a BBQ like this one! Following the tradition of southern style smokers, JR’s Smokehouse BBQ serves up real wood-smoked Texan beef ribs, pulled pork, Angus beef brisket and maple glazed chicken, all cooked low and slow. I’ve made pulled pork before but it’s not a patch on this! I remember a quote from ‘Joe Beef’: “When you add the element of smoke, the dish becomes completely different.” Falling apart, there’s no fatty ‘afterburn’. It’s overlain with another dimension, yet the smoke is not too dominant; there’s a balanced soft mouth feel. Truthfully, it’s the food you’d expect to find in a real Southern States BBQ joint half a world away, not in a Miami warehouse complex!

“When I was about eight years old, my dad took me to a real barbecue place. It was a family restaurant but in a bad neighbourhood. That was the first place I had really good smoked ribs and it set the standard for everything else I’ve tasted since,” owner Joel Romo (JR) tells us. He’s been following the smoke trail ever since, taking trips back to Austin, Texas and Memphis to perfect his technique.

You’ve got to love the commitment it takes to bring our meat to the table. After setting up at 4.00am, the meat is hickory smoked for 12 hours in Joel’s little smoker. Come January ’15, though, we’ll see a new large smoker emerge. We’re looking forward to the ‘beauty’ this beast will produce!

Monkey Magic Dumpling (Stall)

Dumplings are quickly becoming one of the most craved for foods on the Gold Coast with various restaurants popping up to service this growing need. Ken Tezuka saw the growing popularity of the dumpling in Sydney and decided to offer a difference to the many deep fried varieties around by selling his homemade gyoza, with either a pork, prawn, chicken or vegetable filling, steamed rather than fried.

You can easily taste the freshness of the ingredients as the dumplings melt in your mouth and leave you wanting more, so be warned! It is very difficult to stop at just one flavour.

Poffertjes (Food Truck)

Another stall that experiences immense popularity is the poffertjes van, which is located in what can only be called ‘The Sweets Aisle’ alongside cronuts, gelato, macarons and a variety of other treats guaranteed to satisfy any sweet tooth.

Mark and Nancy own and operate the poffertjes stall, which spent seven years in Victoria before making the move north to the Gold Coast. Nancy reports that the little van has done a lot of work over the years and was previously owned by Mark’s parents.   Receiving a plate stacked high with these small, fluffy pancakes you have your choice of a variety of toppings, with strawberries always coming out as the favourite. This is definitely the way to end your meal at the Marketta.

Alongside the food on offer Marketta Street Food also boasts two bars and live music every Saturday night. With cheap eats and free entertainment the Marketta Street Food is a weekly event that should not be missed!

Morin F, McMillan D & Erickson M 2011, The art of living according to Joe Beef, Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, p.144.

Marj Osborne and Catherine Coburn


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