Shop 94-96, Northcote Plaza
3 Separation Street
Northcote VIC 3070
+61 3 9482 7888
When my friend Linda suggested we visit a restaurant that specialised in ribs, I couldn’t help but groan a little. Yes, I love ribs but I was starting to get sick of them given that I’ve had more than my fair share of ribs in the last two years. ‘But this place is better than Squires Loft and better than Hurricane’s,’ insisted Linda.
Okay, fine, I was sold.
Northcote Plaza is the last place I’d expect to find arguably one of Melbourne’s best rib restaurants. It wasn’t even on High Street where the cool kids now hang but instead, at the back of the plaza across a random park. Ribs & Burgers may not be generating a lot of buzz on social media but given how packed the place was getting after 6pm on a weekday night, it’s definitely gaining legs.
Ribs & Burgers may not win any creativity awards for its name though if a hipster had opened this restaurant in an attempt to be ironic by cashing in on two of the hottest food trends of 2013, then I wouldn’t be surprised. In actual fact, Ribs & Burgers began life in Sydney before finally spreading its wings down south.
I love how they store all their cutlery and napkins in metal watering cans – too cute.
Linda normally goes for the ribs (she’s been here a number of times) but decided to give something else a go. She opted for the steak because it was one of the specials for the night. Not that $23 for a 400g steak plus your choice of cabbage salad or chips isn’t a good enough deal!
Red and white shredded cabbage leaves combined with chopped apple, roasted pine nuts, mint and parsley made up the core of the salad, while a light olive oil and lemon juice dressing held it together. It was pleasant enough but I think it would have been better if it was an actual coleslaw – I need all that cream to break down the bitter cabbage leaves!
Prior to arriving at the restaurant, I was being a bit of a moody sook and told Linda that I ‘wasn’t in the mood to eat heaps.’ I even told her that there was a chance I wouldn’t finish all my ribs – I was wrong, much to Linda’s amusement.
The ribs were marinated in a sticky sweet and tangy sauce, slow cooked for eight hours before being grilled. The meat easily fell off the bones, all of which I licked clean. Yes, all. I even finished the super crunchy and lightly seasoned chips too. Yep. All. Of. It. Everything was that good.
There was nothing bad I could say about Ribs & Burgers. Linda enjoyed her steak while I thought my ribs were the bee’s knees. The service was also pretty good in that we got our meals pretty quickly though to be fair, we arrived before the dinner rush. I would like to return to try the burgers; apparently their burger meat is free range, hormone-free and contains no antibiotics which is always a good sign.
In the meantime, it’ll probably be a while until I order ribs at a restaurant again – unless, of course, I happen to be at Ribs & Burgers.