20 Jul Dexter, Preston
Other than the cryptic ‘X’ cube out the front, there’s really no other indication that the dark grey facade hides a meat-focused eatery behind it. Adam Goldblatt and Tom and Sam Peasnell are the trio behind the venture, and with experience including Chin Chin, Three Bags Full, MoVida, Auction Rooms, and London pitmasters Pitt Cue Co, there are plenty of reasons to get excited.
There’s a whole range of buns (not burgers) all coming with hot sauce and mayo. This means no patties to be found here. Starters, smoked and grilled meats, sides, and a handful of sweets fill out the rest of the menu. Hot meat donuts sound a little odd, given our general association of doughnuts and sweets. Sweet and savoury at the same time, these meat-filled doughnuts have an icing sugar and paprika coating, and come with a spicy capsicum sauce. The spicy meat ragout centre is slightly vinegary and reminds me of peri peri sauce. Overall, a confusing experience for my tastebuds, but not unpleasant and worth trying at least once.
Vegetarian rather than being made of poultry, KFC here stands for Kentucky Fried Cauliflower. The crunchy buttermilk coating makes way for a soft and creamy inside that’s lightly spiced. There’s a sriracha-based dipping sauce for it, but I prefer to enjoy the spices of the coating alone. Delicious, though a tad expensive, with only five florets in the enameled dish.
The Big Dexter is a mouthful of a bun, packed with plenty of meat in the middle. The main event of the pulled pork and beef brisket is thoughtfully broken up by vinegar slaw and pickles. Meat is definitely the focus, the charred bun secondary to the delights held between them. The brisket is juicy and pulls apart, making it easier to take clean bites, if such a thing were possible with such a tall bun. Yum.
All the smoked and grilled meats (and eggplant) come with a decadent and smooth bone marrow mash, and a tasty, charred, marrow-rubbed sourdough trencher on the side. Pickles help cut through all the fattiness. The smokey caramel short rib comes sliced for ease of eating, and despite being glazed in caramel, isn’t too sweet. Eat it warm for maximum melty satisfaction.
It’s hard to decide what to order, because everything sounds so enticing. Thoroughly impressed, I’d be happy to return any day. For a finger-licking feed, X marks the spot.
456 High St
Preston, VIC, 3072
(03) 9973 3577