You know my great friend iMac, well I think she might be just a little bit in love… it might be something about the way the pulled pork sliders whisper sweet nothings in her ear, or the meaty crunch of the pork hock croquettes that melt in her mouth, or maybe it’s just the way the beef short rib tenderly falls off the bone for her. Anyway… the affair was getting quite intense – so it was time to introduce us (and by us, I mean the gorgeous AT and me), to the new love of her life…. MeatMother.
MeatMother has attracted some serious exposure over the last few weeks – and I have to say that the attention is warranted. This place is quite a quite different to anything I’ve seen before. I don’t know if it’s the collection of meat cleavers under a ram skull, or the hefty collection of liquor lit up by a fluorescent backboard, or maybe it’s the artwork that hangs from butcher’s rails featuring human body parts and floral arrangements. The fit out here is very funky, very inspired, and hits just the right balance of provocation and pride. There’s no missing the point – this place loves meat, and expects its clientele too as well. As one poster states, in small type at the bottom: Eat or be eaten.
Downstairs features a great bar with its now famous cocktail – the Bacon Sour… (I know, it sounds wrong – but it is so, so right… but more about this later). The bar takes up about three quarters of the downstairs space, and while there is some room to eat down here, upstairs is the main dining area. Neil Hamblen and his team have made excellent use of the high ceilings by installing industrial sized lighting that still manages to create an ambient feel and break up the space.
The menu has sections entitled: Meat Trays, Extras (which work well appetisers, or meat inspired tapas), and a Texas Sandwich option thrown in there as well. While we perused the menu, iMac and I put in orders for Bacon Sours, while the gorgeous AT chose a more serene Black Widow Tea. We decided we would let iMac make the crucial decisions about food – seeing as how she was so intimate with the menu already!
Bacon Sour and Black Widow Tea
First the cocktails – I know bacon inspired cocktails sound wrong, but as it turns out it is pretty good. The bacon has been glazed with maple syrup and then crisped up – so it is this sweet and salty, smoky concoction. It perches in your drink inviting you to chew it down as you slake your thirst. It’s good stuff! The Black Widow Tea was equally as delicious. We were on our way!
Pork Hock Croquettes
BBQ Chicken Wings
We started with some pork hock croquettes and amazing BBQ chicken wings. It’s hard to choose between these two – crispy, crunchy spheres with hearts of slow cooked pork meat; or spicy, tender, sticky BBQ wings. Both were delicious! Alas, the pulled pork sliders weren’t on the menu tonight… so we might have to leave them for another day.
Texas Pulled Pork and Chipotle Slaw Sandwich
We then moved onto a couple of meat trays, and a Texas Sandwich. People, this relationship is looking serious! First up, we tackled the Pulled Pork and Chipotle Slaw Texas Sandwich. The thick slices of brioche are toasted up, then filled with tender shreds of slow smoked and braised pork, and then topped with the crunchy freshness of coleslaw that’s been spiked with chilli mayonnaise. We made pretty short (and messy) work of this toastie!
Beef Short Rib with Mash and Gravy
Then we moved onto the Beef Short Rib – Oh. My. Goodness. Definitely my favourite for the night – the meat on this baby was so soft, it was basically trembling till it just fell off the bone. The slow roasted meat was oh-so-tender, and threaded with gorgeous seams of gelatinous goodness. It was like eating a slow braised beef cheek! Testimony to its tenderness was the clean bone at the end of the dish. Just order it!
Our last dish was the Spare Ribs… there is a lot of gorgeous meat on these babies, and it’s the perfect combination of meaty chewiness, smokiness, sauciness and tenderness. Despite the fact that we had now eaten a meal of epic proportions – it was still delicious.
A selection of sides!
Oh… and I should mention the sides, because they were amazing. Creamy potato mash with gravy, delicious mac cheese, chipotle slaw and the sprouts with lardons were delicious and made the meal. At $4 a pop – you can afford to lash out and try a few (although you get one automatically with each meat tray). And yes… apparently there’s an adult size Mac cheese!!!
Sticky Date Pudding with Caramel Sauce and Icecream
However, we needed a sweet note to finish on – there were two options on the menu. We ordered both to share. First up was the sticky date pudding with caramel sauce and vanilla ice-cream. Hello!! There is nothing to dislike about this dish… sorry… I’m wrong. There possibly could have been more caramel sauce!! But that’s just me – I love the stuff. It was a great balance of spice, not too sweet, and there was a great density to the pudding. The only slight improvement could be maybe a little jug of caramel sauce on the side… just sayin…
The other dessert was a lime tart– AHHHH-MAZING! It was lip-puckeringly sour, but also sweet and creamy. The lime filling was actually a parfait – and its icy creaminess beautifully coated your mouth with the tartness of the lime, while the chocolate biscuit base added an earthy tone. It provided a great cleansing foil to the smoky, BBQ tones of the earlier courses.
This new kid on the block is already proving to be incredibly popular – with lines of people down the street soon after opening. Whilst its early popularity appears to be with the “feed-the-man-meat” brigade (about two thirds or more of the people at our session were blokes), I think it will also prove pretty popular with people who are looking for some good ol’ fashioned USA smoky BBQ flavour!
When I asked iMac what it was that kept her coming back, she said: It’s the food – it’s so comforting and delicious. She also loved the cute enamel crockery that makes you feel like you could be sitting by a campfire!! She’s right you know – there are some fantastic touches that contribute to the hip-and-cool factor, but it’s not so over-stylised that you don’t immediately feel relaxed and comfortable there. If you love your meat, and are a fan of smoky BBQ flavour – pull up a chair, order a Bacon Sour and get stuck in! You might just be lucky enough to see iMac there…