On a recent quick visit to Melbourne, which was all about friendships and catchups and celebrations, I knew I would have time for only one meal out. But how does a foodie choose just one restaurant in a city that has a plethora of amazing places and one I never get to visit very often?
As I was staying in Preston, a quick search on the area led me straight to Dexter (just up the road from my hotel).
Minimal signage. X marks the spot.
Brothers Sam and Tom Peasnell along with friend Adam Goldblatt, who collectively have careers that include infamous Pitt Cue and Homeslice, both in London, Chin Chin, Movida, Auction Rooms and Three Bags Full and they have collaborated to bring this 'non-traditional meatery' (their words) to Preston, a North Melbourne residential melting pot that is on the up and coming.
Once inside the space is well lit with sky lighting and lots of light wood and white walls. There is a communal table/bar running the length of one side with tables and bench seating on the other. There is also another space out back past the open kitchen. I love this minimalist, airy, light fitout.
Their lunch menu is a condensed version of their dinner menu but still plenty of meaty goods to choose from.
The menu has me drooling and a serve of scratchings is needed to start (because well as you know crackling is my crack!) and a Pickle Back.
it was a 'I need a moment to myself' moments
What the hell is a Pickle Back you ask? The perfect aperitif! A 30ml shot of Makers Mark bourbon and a shot of Pickle Juice (house made by the way). The bourbon is truly a remarkable drop and the house made pickle juice is sweet and savoury all in one. I was close to ordering a second!
There may be buns on the menu but definitely no burgers or meat patties here. Brioche buns are made in house to accompany the pulled and smoked meats. There are so many delectable offerings but I go with the most popular choice. The Pig's Head Bun.
A slow braised pulled pigs head meat rolled into a croquette and deep fried topped with pickled pineapple, vinegar slaw and pickles. Soft chewy bun encases this crispy delight. The rich jowl and head meat is tender and juicy and comforting. The pickled pineapple is juicy and tangy and the vinegar slaw is tangy.
I cannot pass over a side of the Bone Marrow Mash. Yep! A swirl of super smooth mash floating in a bowl of light gravy with gelatinous dots of delicious bone marrow. Topped with a gremolata.
This is decadent and rich and so inspiring. I mean bone marrow in gravy on mash...I'm lost...
As a side note, I did have a small slight issue with something but the boys and their staff handle it perfectly as expected. They are friendly, welcoming and clearly passionate about what they do and what they are producing in the kitchen. That enthusiasm rubs off a little on me.
Couldn't have had a nicer lunch!
Although I was already bursting to the brim with meaty goodness, I was kindly offered up a taste of another popular side. The KFC. Kentucky Fried Cauliflower. A spicy, nutty batter coating pieces of cauliflower. Perfectly dipped in siracha sauce. These were so fabulously delicious!
I understand that Dexter is a welcoming place in the neighbourhood and as I make my departure I am already planning a return for dinner. Their night menu offers a larger range of meats including short ribs in caramel sauce and pork ribs and trays of meats plus yet another popular item, the meat donut! Burnt brisket ends stuffed inside donuts and laced with icing sugar. HELL YES!
Thanks for such a great meaty lunch Dexter. I will be back next time I'm in Melbs.