Melburnians celebrate the delivery of their jafflechutes in Flinders Lane. Photo: Simon O'Dwyer
On a bleak stretch of Flinders Lane a crowd emerges from the night and gathers under the street lights.
They are waiting for something.
There is a red "X" marked on the footpath.
Jafflechutes delivered from on high. Photo: Simon O'Dwyer
Wrapped up in winter coats, they peer up at the night sky, up towards the top of a building, hoping.
Then, a big cheer goes up as they spot it – a small red parachute carrying, of all things, a steaming ham and cheese jaffle, wrapped in foil and a paper bag. More follow at a rate of one a minute, fluttering down.
Described as Melbourne's first "pop-up, float down eatery" Jafflechutes is the brainchild of content manager Adam Grant and promotions producer David McDonald, five floors above street level in a room with four jaffle makers and a stack of furled parachutes.
The concept: customers place their order on a website via PayPal, nominate a preferred delivery time, then find the red "X" and wait, fingers crossed, for one to float down labelled with your name.
From the website and Facebook page it was not clear if it was a stunt, a joke or some kind of artistic project.
But no, it was real, and enough people had placed and paid for an order by Friday morning that Mr Grant closed it off, concerned he and his team wouldn't be able to satistfy demand.
But by night, as he and a group of friends slaved over burning hot jaffle makers, the biggest threat to the fledgling business was the wind, and an inconveniently located tree, which ended up the big winner on the night. "Sorry if the tree ate your Jafflechute," they posted on their Facebook page. By end, they had made over 60 jaffles, including a batch of freebies marked "mystery".
So will we see Jafflechutes opening again this week? Possibly at a different location, Mr Grant said.
On the street on Friday night, a gawking passer-by asked one of the inventors if anyone had thought of the "genius" concept before.
"No one," Mr McDonald said, laughing. "That's because it's a stupid idea."