The dudes behind Melbourne’s hottest new restaurant probably didn’t predict that their lobster mac cheese would become the dish on everyone’s lips. Best known for their winning ways with beef, pork and other meaty delights, the crew behind Meatmother in Richmond swung open the doors to Meatmaiden in the CBD last week.
This cinema-dark basement den on Little Collins Street is an altogether sleeker, sexier space than the Swan Street original (there, bare tables, school chairs and sturdy enamel trays are more dependable canteen than date-worthy destination). The Richmond mothership draws the hordes for meat platters piled with brisket, pork ribs and pulled pork, smoked on site and served with thick slabs of Texas toast and sides in mason jars (when in Richmond…).
Enter the lobster mac cheese. Served in a cast-iron pan, this calorific creation comes topped with crunchy golden breadcrumbs, pearly medallions of lobster and a little mop of curly endive. I’d lick the pan clean if I wasn’t worried about singeing my tongue.
Next up, fried chicken ribs come slathered in tequila mayo, a cooling counterpoint to the chicken’s gentle heat. They’re good without being memorable (and there’s arguably better fried chicken in Melbourne).
But true to their roots, the smoky stuff really is where it’s at: hot links (peppery sausages), tender lamb ribs that you can drag off the bone with your teeth, and the motherlode, 20-hour smoked Rangers Valley wagyu brisket, massaged with a native pepperberry rub. The brisket is juicy and soft enough to slice with a fork, with a rich seam of fat running through the black-rimmed slices. The hot links deserve a look in, too, little nuggets of peppery sausage tossed with burnt onions, reminiscent of the bad boys we chowed down on in Lockhart, the barbecue capital of Texas.
Get on it, before Meatmaiden’s worst fears come true, as they tweeted at me last week: “WA is going to run out of lobster at this rate”.
Basement, 195 Little Collins St
03 9078 7747
Note: that moody lighting (although awesome for my complexion) meant my iPhone snaps left a lot to be desired, so I’ve supplemented with a shot from Meatmaiden’s instagram account.