Smokehouse 101, 101 Rosamond Road, Maidstone. Phone: 9972 2622
The shopping strip on Rosamond Rd near the bowling club and approaching Highpoint has never particularly drawn the attention of Consider The Sauce – even when a couple of cafes opened up there about a year ago.
That all changes upon us learning that one of those joints is now operating as a BBQ place – we’re there within hours.
Mind you, as always with American-style food in Melbourne we keep our hopes and expectations in check.
Our optimism is hardly given a boost upon entering, perusing the menu and ordering.
Smokehouse 101 may be operating as a BBQ purveyor but to a significant degree it still looks and feel like a cafe, with only a single person – the boss – on the job.
Is this for real, we wonder?
Will the meat be any good?
Will the sides?
Are we on a fools’ errand?
Bennie is impressed that the walls are widely plastered with covers and pages from vintage Phantom comics.
His dad hears on the sound system, among others, the Memphis Jug Band and Howlin’ Wolf.
As ever, we are a little wary of high prices for ribs (three kinds ranging in price from $28 to $35), so go for the brisket and pulled pork, $25 each with chips and salad.
When our meals arrive – and we have our first taste of the Smokehouse 101 goodies – we relax, enjoy and realise we’ve done real good.
The plentiful chips are fine.
The meat is way better – as good as any we’ve had around town.
The brisket has its share of fat but is beaut – smoky and a mix a fall-apart tender and chewy.
The serve size is generous and good for the price.
The housemade sauce is not particularly spicy but has a nice tang to it that has a citrus feel and maybe even an Asian touch.
Pulled pork is such a cliched part of the BBQ tradition, but we’ve found quite a few versions we’ve tried in Melbourne to be insipid and tasteless.
This one has porky flavour aplenty, though it does benefit from the addition of that same sauce.
It, too, is a good-sized serve – something the above photograph disguises somewhat.
“Baked chilli beans” ($2.50, from the breakfast menu) do suitable duty as an accompaniment even if we’re pretty sure they come from a can, while two extra large commercial pickles ($2) are excellent.
We’ve been surprised and delighted by our dinner.
Smokehouse 101 is still in the transition from cafe to BBQ joint.
We’re told the menus we photograph (see below) will within days be replaced by new versions offering more depth and diversity of BBQ choices.
We like that this place has a casual vibe a long way removed from some of the trendier, ostensibly hipper BBQ places around town.
Ironically, in some ways that makes it more like the regular blue-collar BBQ places you might find in burgs throughout the US south.
We would, however, suggest replacing the non-memorable salad with coleslaw.
As we very happily depart, we spy one of the only other two customers in the place getting to grips with a serve of ribs – though we don’t know what kind they are.
Oh boy, there’s a LOT of ribs on his plate!
And the gentleman concerned confesses he’ll be struggling to finish the job at hand.
As we walk to the car, Bennie opines that the ribs deal we’ve just seen looks like it could do for two.
How about that?
That’s for us next time … which we suspect will be soonish.
Smokehouse 101 is still finding its feet, but we totally dig the idea of having a friendly, casual BBQ place right in our own neighbourhood.
This is one of those very rare times we are tempted to keep our mouths shut and not post on CTS in case the word gets out too quickly.