A long-time hospo worker – and Collingwood footy club supporter – Jordan Faulkner always wanted his own cafe, but he didn’t have the means to go it alone.
Then he met Jordan Roughead, a former AFL player (for both Collingwood and the Western Bulldogs) and regular at the cafe Faulkner was managing at the time. Whether it was the fact they share a name – or something more fortuitous – the pair hit it off and, after a drink and a chat, decided they could be more than friends: they could be business partners.
“Jordy [Faulkner] was saying that he’s always worked in hospitality and wouldn’t mind doing his own thing,” says Roughead. “And I’m the opposite; I’ve been interested in hospitality and had a little bit of capacity to invest in something but had no experience.”
Long story short, they’ve joined forces – with fellow Collingwood players Brody Mihocek, Callum Brown and Nathan Murphy – on Whiplash, a no-fuss sandwich and bagel joint in Hawthorn. “I wanted to bring that northern cafe vibe to the south-east,” says Faulkner.
They settled on a former milk bar they found on Gumtree. It was a shambles when they got it, but you’d never know now based on the swish, retro-inspired red and white fit-out.
Food is overseen by chef Will Steele, who was operating a sandwich shop out of his garage during lockdown. “He brings that sort of chef-y influence to simple food,” says Faulkner.
Chicken thighs are soaked in buttermilk, dredged, deep-fried and served on Rustica milk buns with house-made pickles, slaw and harissa mayo. Eggplant is roasted with vodka sauce and buffalo mozzarella, finished with saltbush vinaigrette and sandwiched between slices of rosemary-garlic focaccia. There are also a few bagels – think smoked salmon, pastrami and fresh tomato and basil, all served on a cream-cheese base – plus Veneziano coffee.
As for the name, it’s inspired by the 2014 film about a promising young jazz drummer and his mentor, starring Miles Teller and JK Simmons. “It’s very similar to my relationship with my former boss and mentor, who’s taught me everything I know,” says Faulkner. “I wanted to pay homage to that relationship.”