Meatmaiden, Basement, 195 Little Collins Street, Melbourne. Phone: 9078 77
This all seems a little odd – lunching in the CBD on a Saturday.
I’ve taken the car on account of having a handful of funky new CDs to listen to, and as I leave the parking building and hit Flinders Lane I realise – with a momentary sense of panic – that I’ve left my phone at home.
No problem, surely?
Surely I can survive without it, and be out of the loop, for a few hours?
Sure I can!
But Nat has told me Meatmaiden is one of those typically Melbourne joints that doesn’t make itself obvious from the street.
If I can’t locate it, I’ll be unable to contact him.
As it turns out, the street frontage of Meatmaiden is out there in plain sight – but it still takes me a while to nail it.
What IS very Melbourne is the twisty metal-staircase meander from the street through to the restaurant itself.
And the scene of the Meatmaiden action is also very Melbourne – underground, dark, cosy in a clubbish sort of way.
We’re meating here for lunch on account of a visit a few weeks before – impromptu because the place Nat, Bennie and I initially pencilled in for a midweek dinner had turned out to be unsuitable – to Fancy Hank’s.
Bennie and I love that place and actually find it hard to credit that there may be other places in Melbourne that do BBQ just as well, let along with the sort of funky rustic vibe so perfect for a such food.
Nat insisted then that there other good places and it’s high time I tried some of them.
So here we are.
At Meatmaiden, the sibling of Richmond’s Meatmother.
Nat is right – the lunch we have is very, very fabulous, even if the sophisticated surrounds are a long, long way removed from the likes of Fancy Hank’s or the equally downhome charms of its nearby Americanophile neighbour.
We pass by the lunch menu and head straight to the main list – the meat of the matter, so to speak.
Given our mutual love for this food genre, Nat and I order with unusual – for us – restraint.
I’d love to hit here with Bennie and go the whole hog, for instance, by going the $49 per person Maiden’s Mood spread of two small/share dishes, three from the smoker/grill and two sides.
But, no, not this time – we get one from the smoker, one from the grill and two sides.
They’re all fabulous and priced right – not cheap eats exactly, but about where it’s at for similar fare around town.
O’Connor pasture-fed flat iron 2220-gram steak ($24).
And … 200 grams of 20-hour Rangers Valley wagyu brisket with native Tassie pepper berry rub ($22).
We consume with both our meat choices in quick time without even pausing to contemplate the use of the various condiments at our table.
Spring onion mash ($8) is great though the spring onion tastes to me as being restricted to the garnish.
Red slaw ($8) is rather blandly dressed but otherwise just right – I like it that the vegetables are chopped finely enough to make fork-loading easy. Such is not always the case.
The service has been spot on.
And given this place is no doubt mad busy at other times of the week, we’ve done real good by dropping in for Saturday lunch – there’s only four other tables occupied.
Saturday lunch – definitely the best bet at Meatmaiden.
Check out the Meatmaiden website here.