Meat. It takes centre stage at Melbourne's Meatmaiden, showcased in a backlit display cabinet like precious jewels. Forget about Breakfast at Tiffany's. I'd rather eat my croissant with this view instead.
I visited Meatmaiden a little while back on a work trip to Melbourne. Currently I'm a few days post-double wisdom teeth removal - hence the missing post from last week - and if there's one thing that a sore jaw makes you secretly pine for, it's the chewy satisfaction of meat. Like a real sucker for punishment, I've looked longingly at these photos during the editing process. I can't wait to chew on both sides of my mouth, allowing meat juices to flood my palate before slowly swallowing.
Meatmaiden is the sister restaurant to the more barbecue-centric Meatmother in Richmond. Its city location along Little Collins Street in the CBD makes Meatmaiden a lot more accessible. You have to descend deep into the bowels of a building basement, but that makes your first encounter even more memorable. Is this the right place? How many more stairs are there? Are we there yet?
Rangers Valley tomahawk rib eye on the bone dry-aging in the cabinet
All is forgiven once the landing spits you out into a stylised steakhouse that feels more like a gentleman's club. The cavernous dining room combines clean lines, gleaming tiles and splashes of red amongst timber fittings.
The menu is larger than you'd expect, broken up into small plates and meat from the smoker or the grill. Non-carnivores aren't ignored either. "Not meat" includes two seafood and two vegetarian options and the sides menu yields offers salads, roasted vegetables, mashed potato and mac & cheese.
If the process of deciding what to order is all too hard, you can go with the chef's choice menu at $53 per person. We chose our own dishes though, and even with way too much for three females, our bill only came to $46 per person. We definitely could have skipped a dish. The portions are huge - or maybe that's just because we're used to Sydney prices for Sydney (smaller) portions.
Burnt ends $14
We kick things off with burnt ends, the pointy and fatty end of a smoked brisket, tumbled in a sticky barbecue sauce. There's plenty to go around as we savour its sweet smokiness.
Beef intercostal with burnt pearl onions and butternut puree $15
Intercostals are the muscles found between the ribs, often seen in Korean restaurants as rib fingers. Here the beef intercostals are cooking to a melting softness, served with pearl onions roasted until caramelised and slightly burnt. Dollops of butternut puree and slivers of radish help cut through the richness.
Shrimp cornbread with grilled prawns and chipotle butter $14
We also hit up the shrimp cornbread, less of a muffin and more of a bread slice, adorned with grilled prawns, salad greens and lashings of chipotle butter.
20-hour Rangers Valley wagyu brisket with Tasmanian pepperberry rub (200g) $26
The Rangers Valley wagyu brisket is a vision to behold, a sigh of fatty lusciousness draped across today's hipster must-have, the enamelware tray. You can see the glistening pockets of fat, the visible smoke ring and the way the protein fibres are ready to fall away with the nudge of a fork. It's gloriously rich and tender.
Confit lamb ribs with lemon crumb $22
The confit lamb ribs are much larger in portion in size than we'd expected. At $22, we'd expected a small serving, not a mini mountain of seven ribs.The fat has been rendered terrifically well, creating mouthfuls of crisp and caramelised juiciness on the bone. The lemon crumb is a clever way to introduce tang and texture.
Gippsland pasture-fed beef short rib $28
And because we really want to give our arteries a workout, we order the Gippslands pasture-fed beef short rib too. It's another wonderment of carnivorous bliss, combining beefy fattiness with a hum of intense smokiness.
Hot sauce and bbq sauce
Metal buckets containing bottles of hot sauce and barbecue sauce allow you to go as wild as you please. I go a little crazy on both, sopping up puddles of sauce with hunks of protein.
Shaved fennel and pomegranate salad $9
Needless to say, the shaved fennel and pomegranate salad provides some much needed acidic relief among the meatfest. It's fresh, clean and bright, and just what our tastebuds (and arteries) need.
Spring onion mash with gravy $10
The spring onion mash fulfils our carb quotient. Buttery mashed potato in a lake of gravy is just too good to resist.
We found this was incredible value for some mighty fine protein. Would definitely visit again. Would definitely skip lunch in preparation.
Basement, 195 Little Colins Street, Melbourne
Tel: +61 (03) 9078 7747
Monday to Saturday 12pm-3pm and 5pm til late
Related Grab Your Fork posts
Melbourne - 8Bit Burgers, Footscray
Melbourne - Belle's Hot Chicken, Fitzroy
Melbourne - Bluebonnet Barbecue, Fitzroy North
11 comments - Add some comment love
9/12/2016 12:23:00 am