Down Under, served here
KO Catering and Pies
87 A St., South Boston
In the multicultural food landscape that is Boston, Australian cuisine has been underrepresented — well, really, unrepresented. That changed when KO Catering and Pies opened in South Boston in October, serving soul food from Down Under. KO stands for “knock out,’’ but also for “ken oath,’’ a more polite abbreviation of an Aussie slang term used to express agreement.
It’s likely that what you know of Australian fare derives from dated pop culture. Yes, there’s shrimp on the barbie at KO — spicy ones, served over rice salad with feta, tomatoes, and cucumber. Yes, chef Sam Jackson will smile and give you a Vegemite sandwich, or at least toast topped with the salty, dark brown spread. He’ll also call you “mate.’’ He’s from Wollongong, just south of Sydney.
There the cliches end and the pies begin. Jackson makes a glorious version of the golden, flaky foodstuff ubiquitous in his homeland — a shortcrust base, a savory filling, and a puff pastry top. Here, the individual-serving pies are stuffed with the likes of ground beef, Irish beef stew, or curried vegetables. A pie of the month keeps things interesting — February’s is a broccoli, cheddar, and roasted garlic pastie. KO helpfully offers instructions on how to eat the pies: topped with ketchup, straight out of the foil tin, no utensils required.
Sausage rolls, fish and chips, chicken schnitzel burgers, and other Aussie classics are here, too. Where else in town can you get potato wedges with sour cream and sweet chili sauce, or learn what chicken salt is? (It’s seasoned salt that tastes like chicken, and it goes on your fries.) Sweets include oat-based ANZAC cookies and Lamingtons, chocolate-and-coconut-dipped sponge cakes.
KO also serves breakfast — called brekky, of course — until 11 a.m. You might have a hard time choosing between potato rosti with roasted tomato, bacon, and egg or sweet corn fritters with bacon, avocado, and arugula.
The little shop will have a food truck roving the city when the weather improves, spreading the gospel of meat pies. That’s a good thing. Ken oath it is, as they say in Australia, give or take a syllable.