Meatworks. The name doesn't lie — this South Melbourne eatery means seriously meaty business. Opened by Lindsay Jones-Evans of Sydney's The Victoria Room and Jones the Grocer establishments, it's yet another of this city's restaurants throwing their hat in the good ol' American BBQ-inspired ring.
Settled in an old 1930s-style garage, the environment is surprisingly light and spacious, complete with exposed brick walls. Naturally, there's also the obligatory inclusion of hanging plants, suspended by the not-so-conventional rows of ladders lining the ceiling.
Currently open for lunch and dinner (and brunch on weekends), there's no stepping into Meatworksco without the expectation you're going to be digging into something braised, smoked or slow-roasted at all times of the day. (But if you prefer to eat your meat after the sun goes down, you'll be happy to know that they're extending their hours to open for dinner at the end of the month.)
The meat platter ($28) is the ultimate assortment of delectable cuts, including a mouthwatering ten-hour smoked pulled brisket and a fiery homemade chilli sauce. The torn pork burger with slaw, dill pickles, swiss cheese and chipotle mayo ($16.50) on a milk bun has all the makings of a winning dish, but is missing the level of juiciness promised by such ingredients. Alongside the hearty serves of tender meats familiar in Americana venues, the menu is also home to some unexpectedly Asian-style dishes, including a vego dish of spicy silken tofu with pumpkin, zucchini, peanuts, fried shallots and coriander ($14.50), and a pickled carrot and cucumber salad ($7).
There's a humble Australian wine list from which to select — and you'd be more than forgiven for whiling away an afternoon swilling glasses at $35 a bottle. Meatworksco has also got your morning coffee covered, and a variety of baked treats beckoning at the counter.
The service is coupled with a genuine excitement for the food and the patrons consuming it. The tables have the capacity to cater for large groups without feeling crowded, and an underlying sense of easiness rests in the air. Affordable and affable, Meatworksco is carnivorously good.
Images: Brook James.