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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.