16 Meyers Place
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9639 7411
What’s this, another Melbourne restaurant serving American-style food complete with mac and cheese and sliders and all?
Well, yes, but you see, Mr Big Stuff is actually really good. And worth the two thumbs up and several return visits rather than an eye roll.
Nee, Ling and I had dinner here two Friday nights ago, back when the joint had just opened. There wasn’t a lot of buzz surrounding Mr Big Stuff’s opening and if it weren’t for Ling’s intel (she knew one of the restaurant’s investors), I probably would not have known about it.
When we rocked up for our 6PM booking, the place was dead quiet apart from the few waitresses standing around as well as the DJ spinning some funky soul tunes. Throughout the night though, the restaurant started to fill up. By the time we left, the place was practically full house. Not bad for a joint that didn’t do a lot of advertising, imo.
Friday nights with ladies always involves cocktails. I’m more of a whisky, wine and beer drinker but no way I was going to resort to drinking Pabst (what am I, a hipster?) so I ordered the Mr Tea cocktail purely for the name (a bit of an inside joke between a mate and I).
I love how customers can also opt for a non-alcoholic version of each cocktail – just strip away the alcohol and $4 or thereabouts, and you’re left with a pretty impressive mocktail. Not me though, I loved my cold brew peach sencha green tea and lemonade mix with a hint of Martell VSOP Cognac. Also, we all had a little jug of sugar syrup to accompany our drinks so we can adjust the sweetness levels – a lovely touch.
Mr Big Stuff’s mac and cheese was THE bomb. Granted, there wasn’t much of it for $12 but each mouthful was delicious – the macaroni shells were coated in three different types of cheeses and the crunchy breadcrumb topping was beaut.
This dish was also fantastic. The waffles themselves were just that, nice. The fried chicken, however, was the German team in the Germany vs Portugal match from the other night, beyond stellar. The meat was tender and the coating was super crispy without being too heavy.
At first glance, $9.50 for one slider seemed a bit exxy. But when I took my first bite, I knew the price tag was worth it. The braised ox tail filling was flavoursome and comforting enough to be served into a stew (now that’s an idea). It worked beautifully against the slaw’s fresh flavour and crispy texture.
For some reason, we were expecting the ribs to be massive so I was a bit ‘huh!’ when I saw the tiny portion size. Not that it mattered anyway – we were slowly starting to get full. The ribs were covered in a sticky bourbon BBQ sauce that was as sweet as the words coming out of an Italian man’s mouth, with a slight hint of smoke. They didn’t have that lovely tang that the ribs at Ribs & Rumps et al have though.
Surprisingly, I liked the corn bread more than the ribs. It was dense, without being too heavy and only a little big sweet. The girls also loved it. Who would have thought. Corn bread.
Naturally, we had to take a peek at the dessert menu. We decided that sharing one dessert between the three of us was the way to go of the two on offer, the apple pie seemed like the best choice (the other choice was a cobbler).
I was surprised to see the ‘apple pie’ come in little bite-sized donuts. Not that there was anything wrong with that. The filling had hints of spiced rum and cinnamon in it, giving these little babies a hint of lovely winter spice.
We were impressed by our dinner at Mr Big Stuff. Sure, the American food trend is starting to do my head in as much as cheesy Tinder pick-up lines. Mr Big Stuff, however, doesn’t try too hard – plus, both the food and service here is excellent. The girls are already talking about going back for the mac and cheese and waffles while I have my eye on some of the other stuff on their menu such as the Spring Bay mussels with okra and bacon.