Blazed Bar & Grill, Sunshine Motor Inn, 608 Ballarat Road, Aredeer. Phone: 9363 1717
We’re not real big on steaks.
Maybe because so much of the new-world food we love chops beasties up into bits more akin to bite-size.
But maybe, also, because we’ve had some very average steaks in the west, ones that have sat lumpen and leaden in our tummies.
But we can be persuaded.
During the most recent lockdown, for example, a couple of times we indulged in the Monday night $30 special from Romanee in Yarraville – perfectly cooked steak, fries, slaw, whipped home and being consumed within a couple of minutes.
I believe the same deal – eat in or eat out – continues to be offered.
Then there is Blazed Bar & Grill.
This has become a scratch that demands to be itched and I eventually co-opt Justin into a visit.
Part of it is the online reviews – though I know well enough not to lend them too much credence.
Part of it, too, is the constant CTS desire to eat and blog in the less congested eating spaces of the west.
But mostly, I confess, I am simply tickled about the idea of chowing down in a motel – especially one located on an otherwise mostly inedible, “nowhere” part of Ballarat Road, just south the ring Road.
My slightly dodgy hunch and enthusiasm end up being fully vindicated – and Justin, too, is won over, despite initial bemusement-verging-on-wariness.
We are impressed right from the start thanks to the friendly staff and, soon thereafter, the presence of chef Varun Mathur.
Varun explains the sourcing and grading of the house specialty – steaks – and dispenses advice with genuine warmth that sets us at ease.
We are seated in the huge dining room, which is deserted on an early week night. There’s a few customers in the adjacent bar who presumably belong to the numerous trucks parked all over.
Then – steaks for two it is.
Justin is very happy with his sirloin ($36), remarking that it is very, um, unusual to be presented with his steak cooked precisely rare as ordered and in this kind of setting.
The chips are good and the salad much more varied, crisp and colourful than predicted.
We’d cynically expected a typically sloppy balsamic-based dressing, but instead he gets a good mix of coriander, lime, mint, chilli and vinegar.
My ribeye ($38) delights in every way – cooked medium rare, juicy, delicious.
I would’ve preferred the chips/salad combo to accompany, but choose the veg option simply for variety’s sake.
And I am stoked about that.
The saffron mash and chargrilled mushroons and asparagus are excellent.
Blazed has been a wonderful – and somewhat unexpected – experience.
But there are aspects here worthy of a return visit or three.
The dessert list’s vanilla slice for one.
And the $20 burger-and-chips combos available in the bar.
In the meantime, we depart with a simple conclusion – Blazed does meat biz every bit as well and in every way as at least three inner-west pub-type venues of high repute we can think of.