Texas BBQ and burgers seem to be the food du jour as of late with food trucks devoted to burgers, restaurants claiming to have the best ribs, but where can you find one place that has all these foods together on one menu and taste authentic? Look no further than Joes Bar and Dining hall in St Kilda which has a menu that definitely appeases to those looking for the real deal when it comes to Texas BBQ.
Acclaimed Melbourne chef Andrew Blake is behind the new menu at Joe’s that celebrates the traditional Texas barbecue. The menu covers Texas BBQ favourites like beef short ribs, smoked buffalo wings and other American classics like jalapeño poppers, southern fried chicken, buffalo wings and a Rueben sandwich (toasted rye, pastrami, sauerkraut, swiss cheese and mustard). With a bespoke smoker on the premises, the tastes are as authentic as you can get. Forget bottled BBQ sauce, this is the real deal as the smokey flavours are infused through the smoking process.
As a person whose eyes are definitely bigger than their stomach, I was quick to pick out a number of dishes that we had to have. This included a set of ribs which I had spied on other people’s tables as we walked in. I have to say that this was one of my favourites of the meal. We had the BBQ spare ribs with creole rub and texas mop sauce which were cooked to perfection. The meat was soft and fell off the bone, and the creole flavouring and smokiness were subtle and not overpowering. Definitely one to include on your order list when you visit.
Another standout dish was the Southern Fried Chicken – JFC. These succulent pieces of chicken were absolutely delicious and definitely leave you wanting more. Forget KFC, JFC is really the king of all fried chicken with a crispiness that you don’t get with many other places that do fried chicken. The chipotle mayo and lime enhance the chicken with a bit of spice and freshness.
The smoked wings with Buffalo hot sauce were a tasty reminder of wings I’d had in the US, whilst the Burger Royale was a perfect example of what a burger should taste like. The beef patty was juicy and the addition of bacon is always, in my opinion, a welcome addition to any burger, and the inclusion of the black label barbecue sauce really took the flavour of the burger to another level.
Given the amount of meat involved in our meal we decided to add in the Quinoa salad which was a very good choice. The crunchiness of the beetroot, radish, cos lettuce worked well with the quinoa and wild rice as the salad added a level of freshness to the meal.
With bellies full but eyes not, we shared two desserts. Beignets, New Orleans doughnuts with chilli chocolate sauce and poached apple were a good size if you wanted something small to share. The doughnuts were light and the chilli chocolate sauce was something different to try. If you wanted something a bit bigger, the chocolate waffles with cream cheese ice cream and peanut butter caramel were a unique twist on your normal version of waffles. I was pleasantly surprised with the taste of the cream cheese ice cream, a bit like the taste frozen yoghurt, but it worked well with the richness of the peanut butter caramel.
The drinks menu is quite comprehensive and we settled on the Henley Punch, an amazing mixture of Gin, Pimms, guava nectar, apple juice, mint and lime. A definite must if you love your cocktails.
The restaurant has been given a great once over from its days as Greasy Joes and is bright and welcoming. There are large communal tables or smaller tables if sharing tables isn’t your thing! Ample seating outside means you can also enjoy your meal with the seaside breeze.
A sensational menu and location makes Joes a definite must-visit if you’re looking for the perfect taste of BBQ, or even a cool place to hang out this summer.
Joe’s Bar and Dining Hall is located at 64-66 Ackland Street St Kilda.
For more information visit www.joesbar.com.au or call Joe’s on (03) 9525 3755