Ribs & Burgers

American BBQ was all the craze a few years back, and Ribs & Burgers was one of the first few restaurant that introduced the cuisine to Melbourne. A lot has changed since then, and Ribs & Burgers is a fully fledged chain restaurant at this point, with four joints sprawled across Melbourne.

Pork Baby Back (Large) – $34.90

The full rack of baby back ribs smelt amazing when it landed on our table. The meat was falling off the bone, and the sweet caramelisation from the grill added an extra layer of flavour to the ribs. This was definitely worth the inevitable sticky fingers.

Chips

The chips were nothing to be scoffed at either, golden and crunchy, this may push the meal from being rich to decadent, but hey, you’ll never find me complaining about chips this good.

Beef Ribs – $23.90

The beef ribs were basted in the same signature BBQ sauce of Ribs & Burgers, but the result was completely different. The meaty flavour was a lot stronger in this case, and although it lacked the tenderness of the pork baby back, it would be ideal for someone who is a serious carnivore.

Apple and Cabbage Salad

Balance is key, and the crisp and light apple and cabbage salad was the logical counterpart to the rich beef ribs. Eating bites of the salad between the ribs ensured that your arteries aren’t too overly clogged by the end of the meal.

Compared to some of the more upscale steakhouses, Ribs & Burgers is a no-frill sort of deal, and the ribs remain tasty after all this time. It may not be an ideal setting if you’re trying to seriously impress someone, however, the laid-back vibe makes it perfect for a quick weekday dinner, and that’s clearly been working out for Ribs and Burgers.

How to get here:
I visited Ribs & Burgers at its Hawthorn location, which is located on Glenferrie Road, about 10 minutes walk from Glenferrie Station.

Ribs & Burgers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Massive Wieners

Ah Massive Wieners. Specialising in massive hot dogs (12″ being the exact measurement) and fries, I’ve wanted to try it out for a while now, if only to say that I had a massive wiener. I know, so mature and professional of me.

One of my friend lived in Prahran a couple years back, and I’ve literally asked her to come to Massive Wieners with me a dozen of times, but for one reason or another, we never made it there. And then one day last year, I was determined to make it happen, but realised that it was actually under renovation.

After making sure that it was indeed, open, we visited the hot dog joint on a sunny Sunday. The space was quite grungy and bare, and it was actually smaller than what I had expected. Orders are placed at the counter, and then brought out to your table by a friendly staff.

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Kraut (Average Joe) – $7.00

All hot dogs come with the basics – ketchup, mustard, onion and cheese. There are a range of toppings you can choose to add to the basic combination, and I chose kraut. Although deceptively simple, the hot dog was actually very tasty. You can tell that a lot of thought was put into the selection of ingredient, from the toasty bun, to the hot dog itself, which was a lot more meaty and had a firmer texture than cheaper hotdogs elsewhere. The kraut was addictively sour, and lent some extra crunch to the wiener.

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Classic (Average Joe) – $6.00

My friend went for the classic, and it was equally as delicious. We both went for the Average Joe, a 6″ wiener, and it was more than enough. Did we want to give the massive wiener a shot? Sure, but we also wanted to play things safe and save room for some fries on the side.

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Disco Fries (Average) – $7.00

Out of the three fries options, we went for the disco fries; crispy fries topped with gravy, cheese and onion. This is the type of fries that can only be eaten with a fork, and taste best when you can get a mouthful of all the elements.

Massive Wieners delivers exactly what it promised; hot dogs and fries, done with love and care. The straight-forward offerings means that it is perfect for a quick bite to eat, especially after a night out, which is perfect given that it is open until 4am on a Friday night. So next time, trade your kebabs for some hot dogs, and I guarantee that you will thank yourself the next day.

Massive Wieners Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Dexter

I know I know, I’ve been gone for the longest time. Let’s leave that aside for a second and focus on the topic at hand – the amazing meal I had at Dexter.

The American-style eatery featuring various types of BBQ has been on my list to try for a while now (what’s new), and after a lackluster meal my friend had there (not because of the food), I made it my mission to visit the joint as soon as I was back in the country (travel post coming up soon I swear).Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

The location was quite discrete, in fact, the only thing that gave it away was the X above its door. The warm and romantic lighting, minimal designs incorporating the airy space, and the overall sophisticated atmosphere certainly is not what I had in mind for a American BBQ restaurant, but I was pleasantly surprised. Upon realising that there were only seats available at the bar in the indoor area, we opted to eat outside instead.

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KFC (Kentucky Fried Cauliflower) – $9.00

This was our healthiest dish of the night, I mean yes it is deep fried, but there are large pieces of cauliflower being encrusted in the batter, definition of a balanced meal. Although extremely crunchy, the cauliflower was actually a little bland, but the red sauce on the side did help to bring some flavour to the dish.

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Hot Meat Donuts – $12.00

Here they are, the oh-so-famous meat donuts. The concept sounded pretty magical, but it wasn’t until I took my first bite into the sugar-dusted donut that I knew what I was in for.

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Hot Meat Donuts – $12.00

The tender and juicy beef brisket was as delicious as it can be, and the light donut batter took the whole thing to the next level. The concept of the hot meat donut kind of remind me of Chinese meat buns, or the dim sum Ham Sui Gok, but obviously with a American BBQ twist. The flavour and texture of the donut and the meat filling worked so well together that it took some serious self-restraint to order another 3.

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Cured Pork Neck – $27.00 and Caramel Short Rib – $32.00

Moving onto the more substantial dishes, we ordered two of the large dishes to share. The caramel short rib was hands down, the best ribs I’ve ever had. The complex combination of the caramel marinade and the the smokiness of the rib meant that the flavour had seeped through every bite of the meat. It was also very tender, but not too much so.

The cured pork neck was overshadowed by the short rib, but then again, what wouldn’t be. Being a less fatty piece of meat, its flavour was not as rich as the rib, but it was still delicious nonetheless, especially after being doused in the gravy.

Although the meats are the star of the show, the accompanying sides were also distinctly more tasty than your run-of-the-mill mash, pickles and bread. My favourite was the bone marrow mash, the bone marrow adds so much flavour to the smooth mash, making a simple dish into a decadent extravaganza.

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Shoestring Fries – $7.00

The fries were tasty, but I don’t think even the best of fries could reach the unbelievably standard set by the previous potato dish. The serving was quite generous though, and they didn’t charge us for extra sauce, which is always nice.

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My dining experience in Dexter was better than I could ever imagined, it challenged my understanding of what American BBQ is, and how tasty it can be, in the best ways possible. I would happily return and try some of their other meats, but it’s going to be hard to not order the caramel short ribs every single time.

Given the limited space of the restaurant, I’d highly recommend to book ahead, and while I’m handing out tips, ditch the fries and order an extra serving of the bone marrow mash, you won’t regret it.

How to get here:
Dexter is on High Street in Preston, catch a train on the South Morang line and get off at Preston, and the restaurant is about 7 minutes walk away.

Dexter Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Miss Katie’s at Rochester Hotel

I’ve been wanting to visit Miss Katie’s since years ago, or it seems that way anyway, when it was still at its original location in North Melbourne in fact. My friend and I finally managed to sort out a dinner date here one fine sunny Summer day (yes my backlog is literally insane, trying to sort that out these holidays).

Set up at the Rochester Hotel, the vibe was chill to say the least, it’s somewhere that you would go out for a drink with your mates after a long day, enjoying the breezy atmosphere and just talking the night away. However, we were here for the food, although unsuspecting, the neon sign of the crab hung outside told us that we were at the right place.

Oysters – $1.00 each
We happened to be there at happy hour for the oysters, which meant that they were only a gold coin each. A dozen of these were the perfect start to our meal.

Fresh and briny, give it a squeeze of lemon before downing the whole thing in your mouth and it’s impeccable.

Katie’s Fried Chicken – $24.00

The only thing as famous as their crab boils would be chicken and waffle. This is actually the first time I’ve tried this Southern classic. The waffles were quite soft, not the crunchy kind that I’m a fan of.

The chicken was definitely the star of this plate, buttermilk, herbs, breadcrumbs and all the other goodness gave the chicken so much flavour and crunch, KFC ain’t going nothing on these! After spreading the bacon butter on the waffle and drowning it in maple syrup, the sweet and savoury combination is one that I’ll definitely come back to.

Crab Boil – $27.00

Onto the main show of the night, the crab boil! Initially I thought the serving was quite small, but man this whole pan of goodness was drowned in herb butter, decadent doesn’t even begin to describe it. The blue swimmer crab was accompanied by corn cobs, chat potatoes and spicy kranski.

This is definitely something you need to eat with your friend, and the plastic bibs that were provided also came in handy. After cracking open the crab with the tools given, we were rewarded from some juicy and tender crab meat, either eat it by itself for the natural seafood sweetness, or dip it in the herb butter pot for some added richness, it was seriously amazing!

I’m so glad I finally managed to visit Miss Katie’s, crab boils is something I’ve never tried before, and it’s such a delicious way to be eating your seafood! I plan on taking my mum here some day, since she’s always complaining about plain boiled crabs being boring, this will definitely change her mind!

How to get here:
Miss Katie’s is located on Johnston Street in Fitzroy, hop on tram #86 and get off at stop #19, Johnston Street/Smith Street, and Rochester Hotel is a short five minutes walk away.

Miss Katie's at Rochester Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Yo My Goodness

I think everyone in the east side has been praying for some good burgers, I mean, you can only travel all the way to the city, or the other side of town so many times. And that prayer was finally answered when Yo My Goodness opened up in May this year,  adding to the ever changing food scene on Kingsway.

What originated as another self serve frozen yoghurt bar has ventured out to become a host of burgers, fries and shakes just under two months ago, and seriously, I am so glad that they did!

Two Bit Lemon Tart – $7.50

There was a plethora of shake choices, and I went for a tart one because a chocolate based one would be over indulgent – yes, I was still being health conscious although we were at a burger joint LOL. The tartness of the lemon syrup definitely did compliment my meal, but it did become a bit cloying towards the end.

Winner Winner – $13.00

My friend and I both happened to be craving chicken burgers on the day, she went for the classic chicken schnitzel while I went for the Southern fried chicken.  She loved hers because the chicken wasn’t dry, and there was plenty of sauce, she likes her burgers saucy 😉

The Bergerk – $12.00

My burger was probably on the mellow side of things, I forgot to ask for it without tomato, but that’s okay I just took it out yay, problem solved. The chicken had a nice herb batter and the chipotle mayo was quite punchy in flavour. The sesame studded brioche bun held its shape well, and the cardboard casing that the burgers came in made it really easy to eat! The name of this burger though, it was so hard for me to order without laughing LOL.

Fetta Fetish Fries – $7.00

One of my friend who visited YOMG before said that these fries were better than Jimmy Grants, so the bar was set pretty darn high. Did these fries deliver? I actually do have to agree my friend, there was plenty of feta, and the dukkah mix was tentalising too. The spring onions on top brought a hint of freshness to the fries. My friend didn’t enjoy these as much as I did though, because she found the feta too salty.

Who knew a frozen yoghurt bar could serve up some great burgers, shakes and (most importantly) fries too? Friendly service, bustling atmosphere, it pretty much ticks all the boxes for me. The only downside is that seating is quite limited, and there may be a wait if you go during peak times, that just means they gotta keep on expanding right?

How to get there:
Yo My Goodness is located on Kingsway, 5 minutes walk from Glen Waverley Train Station.

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Mr Burger

Burger seems to be a thing that I don’t eat that often, even though I really like it, does that make senses? LOL. Anyway, I remember back in the days Mr Burger only had food trucks, and it could be hard trying to track it down, so I’m glad that now there’s a few permanent locations.

Ginger Ale – $5.00

Because it was a warm day (yepp I went a while back), I decided to grab a bottle of ginger ale. These types of glass bottles are very nostalgic for me, I think back in the days, before canned soft drinks became a thing, they were all served in these! Not the most economic solution, but still, I like it. The ginger ale itself was nice and refreshing, with a subtle ginger kick.

Mr Hot – $12.00

I tried the namesake burger last time, and it was okay, but my friend said that Mr Hot is her favourite, so I decided to give it a go. The pattie was very juicy, and cooked well. The onion rings, on the hand, were a bit dry because of the crumb. The jalapeños were the highlight, as it gave the burger a kick of flavour, as well as texture. The bun itself had great integrity, and didn’t fall apart, which is always nice.

Trucker Chips – $8.00

Mmmmmm these fries doe. So good. I can’t even. Perfect battered chips deep fried, with crispy bacon bits, cheese, and mountain of sauce. Oh yeh. This is what I live for. But seriously, these were so sinfully good, but you know when you eat something unhealthy and doesn’t even taste good, then you’re just sitting there thinking why did I waste my calories on that? Well, this wasn’t the case here. The sauce did get a tad salty towards the end though.

We went close to finishing time, so the restaurant was pretty empty, and service was quick, although it was superrrr cold inside the warehouse. I love how they had a food truck-esque kitchen set-up, paying homage to Mr Burger’s roots, always nice.

How to get there:
Mr Burger is located on Therry Street, which is in Queen Victoria Market. Follow the burger sign and you’ll be there!

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Charlie & Co Burgers

Left: Classic Charlie Burger – $11.90
Right: Parmesan and Truffle Fries – $5.90; Aioli – $0.50

My mission to try out all the food in Emporium continues with Charlie & Co today. I opted for the Classic Charlie Burger, which was pretty disappointing. The beef pattie was very tough, and the bun itself was slightly burnt, and very dry. I did like the brie on top of the burger though, but it was just not enough to save the burger.

The Parmesan and Truffle Fries on the other hand, was amazing. I first had truffle fries back in Singapore, where it’s a thing I think. You could smell the truffle straight away, and that’s always a good sign. The fries were perfectly crispy outside, fluffy on the inside, and with a little bit of parmesan, truffle oil, and the addition of aioli, every bite was worth clogging your arteries for.

I have some mixed feelings about Charlie & Co, the burger was below average, but the fries were there to save the day. I’ll definitely return for the fries, and maybe give their burgers another go? Then again, with the plethora selection of burger places all around the city, I’m not sure if I want to risk being handed a mediocre burger for the second time.

How to get there:
Charlie & Co Burgers is located in Emporium, the Cafe Court on Level 3.

Charlie & Co Burgers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato