These posts are a long time coming. My hard drive had a slight meltdown over Christmas so I had to wait for it to come back to life so I could access my photos. But here we are, at last… Dude food went global during 2012. Of course, establishments across America are well-versed in the pleasures of meat in bread, but last year saw London welcome some heavy hitters, such as Pitt Cue & Co, Dirty Burger, MEATLiquor, Duck & Waffle, and Burger & Lobster. While Melbourne fell for the cardiac-inducing charms of these beauties:
Oh Rockwell, where have you been all our lives? The first few times we visited, we couldn’t see past the sandwiches – calamari with kewpie mayonnaise, pressed ribs, the famed double patty smash with a gooey Kraft cheese slice – but the mains and vegetable sides aren’t to be missed, either. Hailing from America’s south, head chef Casey Wall cooks what he misses – being so far from home and all – and he does his home country proud. Beer is the drink of choice – watch out for DJ sessions and more in 2013, as this 50-seat gem is only going to get better and better.
I was there on Day One and (despite previously having sworn allegiance to Andrews in Albert Park) I thought that there would never be another contender to the title of best burger in Melbourne. But then Rockwell came on the scene just 300 metres away, and I was smitten. There’s room for both, though. Huxtaburger is the place you stop by for a quick takeaway or eat-out-front fix, but Rockwell is where you go to eat your way through with menu with a few beers. The Huxtaburger team are about to open in the CBD so the burgery-goodness has love, will travel. And Andrews gets relegated to the bench, sorry guys.
Why you dirty dogs. In recent years, Brunswick Street has seen several attempts to do quick and tasty street food, but Phat Brats (with its cute sausage dog neon sign in the window) looks set to stay. They guys bring a new set of flavours to the table other than the boring old mustard and ketchup combo – though if that’s what you want, that’s what you can have. They even flaunt all dude food conventions and serve a vegetarian quinoa dog. It pains us to admit it, but it’s damn tasty. The team recently opened Shawcross Pizza next door, and their NY-style pizzas by the slice are sure to line many a drinkers’ stomach over the coming months.
All I can say is: thank you Burger Mary and her team. They popped up at the Fitzroy Workers’ Club in the dead of winter and kept us well-fed and happy with some of the best and most affordable American BBQ offerings we have seen. Melted cheese dip studded with jalapenos and pulled pork sandwiches, not to mention the dessert – red velvet cupcakes with frosting that was more addictive than crack, were all highlights. Their weekly specials hit the mark and tables turned over quick enough so there was never much of a wait. So only one question. Burger Mary – will we see you popping up again this year?
Situated in Elsternwick / Caulfied this place is well worth the journey south. It’s hard to talk about Big Boy BBQ without playing it down unfairly. Yes, you order at the counter and food comes out on trays. Yes, there are huge rolls of paper towel on the table for sticky paws and faces, and yes, you get bottomless soft drinks and can sit in banquettes under a surf board or cartoon poster. But this is as far away from fast food and canteen-style eating as you could wish to get. Chicken wings dry rubbed with spices, hearty US-style sandwiches and tender slow-cooked ribs are all beautifully done. Plus, you can bring your own wine. Now that’s classy.The Deets 764 Glenhuntly Rd, Caulfield South Got a favorite dude food joint? Let’s build a list! Tell us about your favorite spot (and why it’s great) in the comments section below.