Okay, so when people think of going out for dinner in Melbourne and the close surrounding areas most say ‘lets meet up in Lygon street’ or ‘dumplings in Chinatown with BYO’. This is quite general, of coarse, but as an observer and someone who works within the industry that is what I have found many any times. As good as these places are, it just seems like there is nothing new and exciting. These food hotspots are more traditional, which makes sense as it is Chinatown and Little Italy. The best part of going out for dinner is not knowing where you are going or what you even feel like. The streets and places you pass are your inspiration and the right food will pop out in front of you like a jack-in-a-box. Melbourne is one of the food capitals of Australia and has so many up and coming food spots, even spreading out into the suburbs, making people go the distance. In the CBD it is more exploring the little streets, the lane ways, the upstairs and the downstairs of buildings.
One afternoon I met up with a friend at Taxi Kitchen on Flinders Street in the CBD of Melbourne. Originally we had planned on going to the night market at the Queen Victoria Market, but after discovering his ex girlfriend would being showing up, we decided to boycott the market and find our dinner elsewhere. It is always a challenge to figure out what you even want to eat, but that night we had an idea of the type of food we wanted and that was BBQ. We had heard of Meatmaiden and decided to pop by and see if it was screaming our names.
Located in the small streets of the CBD, Meatmaiden has a very appealing entrance. I am a fan of font, I don’t know why but to me if a place has a certain font on their sign, and lives up to that font, I am won over. We walked in and all of a sudden I feel as if I stepped into a place that the girls from Sex and the City would walk into on a Friday night before they went out. The hall entrance lead us to some industrial looking stairs and as we climbed down them, deeper into the building, the lights became dimmer and I was becoming more and more intrigued.
Upon entering the dining area a tall, well displayed, fridge full out cuts of meat and the pickled vegetables Meatmaiden have to offer sat, making my mouth water. I have been past places that have meat displays that have been dry and unloved, but Meatmaiden was spot on and invited you in with open arms.
The place is dimmed and mysterious and would be perfect for a first date, although we arrived around 5.30pm so I noticed there were a lot of men in business suits, obviously, finished work and discussing their day over some meat. Everything about the interior is amazing and makes you hope that the food is just as amazing. Decked out with old school meat scales, cages and intimate booths, Meatmaiden makes you feel comfortable and the atmosphere doesn’t seem rushed or over the top.
I can talk about the decor all day because I am in love with it so much BUT Meatmaiden also do killer food! I mean I hadn’t been out for dinner for awhile and I was so impressed that I actually went and told EVERYONE who would listen to me about this place.
Everything on the menu sounded perfect, but there is only so much people can eat… and afford. So in making the hardest decision of your life easier, we went for the Meatmaiden tasting menu, which is $49 per person. The tasting menu includes 2 small/starters and 3 mains and for the amount you get for two people is beyond satisfying.
We began with a pint of beer and our starters which consisted of pickled heirloom veggies with chilli and goats curd, a bowl of burnt ends and was a entree special that night which was like a curried egg. I fell in love with the pickled veggies. The pickling flavour was a perfect combination of vinegar to sugar and chilli. They are a perfect companion to the burnt ends, whose flavours were well smokey and delicious. If this was just the entrees, then mains were expected to blow me away, in which they did!
Our mains came out and filled out table with a mouth watering selection. We had a bowl of pulled pork, which I have to say was my absolute favourite of the spread with a bursting the American style, smokey BBQ. With a small kick to the flavours it took me back to my time spent in Texas. Our other dishes was the 20 hour beef brisket with pepper berry rub and the lemon crumbed lamb ribs. Both great dishes full of flavour, but I was defiantly won over by the pulled pork. Our mains were accompanied by hand cut chips and a bowl of slaw, which goes excellent with BBQ.
The whole experience of Meatmaiden was amazing beyond words. A place I will defiantly head back to for round two, maybe I’ll find myself a first date! It ticks all the boxes for a great dining experience with amazing, mystic, appropriate decor and atmosphere, the best BBQ in Melbourne (in my experience) and great service. The chef in charge fo the menu along with the chefs in the Meatmaiden team, the front of house and especially the owners should be so SO proud of this place. Ten out of ten!!
Located: 195 Little Collins St, Melbourne
Open Monday – Saturday from 12pm-3pm then 5pm-1am
Price: Entrees $7 – $15, Mains $17 – $34 (With a Sher F1 Wagyu Ribeye, marbel score of 6+, 1.1-1.2kg available for $98)