Persian Princess had been on my case for some time about visiting this place, and frankly I wasn’t sure quite what to expect. I do love my vegetables and will often chow through massive amounts of salad, beetroot and broccoli, but once in a while there’s the undeniable craving for a perfectly seared medium-rare scotch fillet steak or – of course – curly, crispy rashers of bacon.
I’ve only recently started getting into ribs, having shared lamb ribs as part of a tapas dish on one occasion and it not being too messy as there wasn’t an over-abundance of sauce. Reading Urbanspoon on Ribs & Burgers though, it sounded as though their sauce was fairly legendary in terms of thickness, stickiness, flavour and its tendency to get everywhere. I could barely wait to get started 🙂
The restaurant is interestingly outfitted. A window bar overlooking the back street of Neutral Bay, groups of regular tables, and then quite sophisticated booths to each fit about four (friends!) comfortably towards the back of the place. There’s a curious mix of both casual and sophisticated – and the crowd that trickles in over weekday dinner is similar – a combination of young and hip well-dressed couples, families, and uni students. On the wall running alongside the booths were neatly hung a number of framed black and white photographs, of butchers and meat producers.
You also have the wall of old-fashioned meat-mincers where you walk in, where while it does suit the “steakhouse” theme of the place, it kind of gave me a Sweeney Todd style-shiver.
As you saw above, the menu is printed on a massive blackboard that’s taller than me, so that was a massive relief as it saves me squinting at the tiny writing above the cashier’s head like I’m doing an eye test at the optometrist. The cashier will first ask how many people are seated at your table, before reaching behind and giving you a little bucket with a table number, sauce (barbeque and their special pink sauce), and cutlery. How fetch 😉
The food doesn’t take very long to arrive. I had asked another friend what type of ribs I should get before I came, and she said her and her boyfriend had always gotten the pork. So the Pork Ribs ($29) it was:
Sticky, meaty and tender, the sauce was smoky and tangy – delicious. I was quite thankful there was not only a massive stack of paper napkins but also a sink of all things in the middle of the restaurant for you to wash your hands; how thoughtful and considerate! I polished off three-quarters of the rack as a solo effort; I was preeeetty impressed with myself, to be honest 😉
Anyway, your rack of meat comes with a small cabbage salad or chips, and I decided on a small salad as I was going to buy a medium serving of the Chips ($6) to share with Persian Princess.
The chips are lightly crunchy, very long and nicely seasoned with salt. I did kind of wish it was chicken salt, though! The cabbage salad was nice, a light and refreshing combination of chopped red and white cabbage, green apple, roasted pine nuts, fresh mint and parsley, then seasoned and dressed with olive oil and lemon juice. While certainly a refreshing side to have when combined with the hunk of meat I had, I probably couldn’t have eaten a whole bowl of it ($6) like my companion had.
She had ordered it so that she wouldn’t feel too bad about devouring her Original Burger ($10):
A beef mince patty, grilled and basted before being served on a sesame seed bun, with iceberg lettuce, tomato, Spanish onion, dill pickles and their pink and barbeque sauce. She quite liked the sesame bun as it was very soft, but without the over-buttery-ness of the brioche buns you find everywhere nowadays or the high-sugar-content buns of your classic fast-food chains. The beef mince patty had also been cooked to a medium-well, to her request. And with pickles and cheese…what more could you ask for?
I was a little mystified by the pink sauce and tried it with my chips – it reminded us both of something but we couldn’t put our finger on it. Just as we left, we got it: it tastes like tartare sauce, without the gherkins. But for some reason it’s pink?? Looks like it would be a mystery to look into further on our next visit…
Ribs & Burgers
19-25 Grosvenor Street
Neutral Bay NSW 2089
(02) 9904 5774