You can find yourself in a part of town at an unusual hour and make a welcomed discovery.
One Friday late afternoon I found myself on upper Collins Street. The energy emanating from the Nordic designed burger joint, Pop, was palpable. Far from closing after lunch hour, Pop was pumping, filled with office workers enjoying knock-off drinks.
In early morning transit, car park to work, I had previously noticed the menu on the sandwich board outside had diversified. Alongside hamburgers now read Kurdish red lentil soup and gozleme.
The Two Girls made a date to try the new iteration of Pop.
Brothers Kawa and Siyar, bought the business 12 months ago and have undertaken a process of gradual transformation. You’ll still find all the Pop classics on the menu, delicious hamburgers, chips and hotdogs. They décor is still Ikea-esque, but now there’s Middle East cuisine on the menu and alcohol.
Two delightful young women we met enjoying lunch at Pop, Xanthia and Paige.
Fact: Kurdish people come from a region between the borders of Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran, the area of the old Mesopotamia. Kurdish people do not have sovereignty over their homeland and have been subject to significant persecution from some of the countries that occupy their region, most markedly by Turkey. Kurdish people have a powerful history of resistance. The Peshmerga is the military force of the Kurdish region. One of their defining characteristics is the significant number of women who fight on the frontline against Islamic state jihadists for example.
Still reeling after the first episode of Matthew Evan’s For the Love of Meat, The Two Girls both went vegetarian. Most lunches are about $12.50. We chose the bean burger and the falafel wrap with a side of chips. We also tried the traditional sweets, a pare, $3.50, a semolina biscuit in a citrus sugar syrup and the vanilla and rosewater lokum (Kurdish delight), $1.50 each. We drank a glass of Devil’s Corner Pinot Gris for a very reasonable $9 each.
Burgers are still ultra-tasty and beautifully presented. The falafel wrap was a much bigger serve, a pretty average falafel, good value but it didn’t have any stand out features. The sweets were beautifully scented and tasty and it was a real treat to try something different. The pare was made in house by Kawa’s mum.
Fact: Kurdish cuisine entails a lot of grilled meats and vegetables. There are plenty of legumes like chickpeas and beans too!
The foray into new menu is hinting at greater things to come. The new owners have big plans to transform the café and the area.
‘We are going to be transforming Pop into Mesopotamia restaurant bar cafe. The atmosphere will be classier however still comfortable and relaxed. Something that is missing from Collins Street is a Salamanca-quality restaurant with a fun vibe for all those surrounding businesses to have their knock-off drinks and meal’, said Kawa.
You can be part of the transition.
Go for lunch or later for a drink and something to eat after work.
They’re open 7 am – 6 pm Mondays to Thursdays and 7 am – 8 pm Fridays and Saturdays.
You can find Pop (soon to be Mesopotamia) at 178 Collins Street, Hobart.
Call them on 03 6234 7999.
Find them on Facebook – Pop Café