Le Bon Ton

I hate Urbanspoon…

WP_20140318_20_05_22_Pro…It’s funny. You learn to take every Urban Spoon review with a grain of salt, testament to the mediocre scores holding true for Collingwood’s newest smoke house: Le Bon Ton – a wonton assault on all things Southern American by a Texan head chef. 75% on the Spoon at last count.. Laughable considering the high scores holding elsewhere. And the comments are golden, there were some real classics. One diner complained about the smell of  the smokers, saying they will “definitely need to do something about that”. Well pardon me for walking into a smoke house! Do you also walk by the markets and complain about the smell of fresh fish? My shirt smelt so good I deep fried it the next day.

9804506_origAnyway in we went, through the cool as hell bar area and into the dining room. It’s a pretty standard Texan exposed brick affair, closely spaced tables ensure you will see what your neighbours are eating and vice-versa. Which is kinda neat, because we had Manu Feildel plonk his arse on the table next to us and proceed to order salads. On a diet, apparently! Not us, because we set down to a trio of sandwiches. Two staples, and the special for the moment: The Waygu Burger. This was the first to arrive, and we set in.

lebonton3“Wow-ee” were the initial thoughts. A special? C’mon guys. This burger,  despite being the highlight of 2014 thus far, has a permanent spot in my Melbourne top 5. Delicious brioche, bacon, salad and a perfectly charred greasy wagyu patty. Nothing more to be said really. Except for an apology that the picture is rubbish, but the lighting was bad and I had Manu over my shoulder no doubt thinking about how bloggers are tossers!

lebonton2The pulled pork sandwich was next. This went to prove that the large smokers aren’t just for show, this thing had been smoked low-‘n-slow for a long time. And it showed. Aromas of hickory apparent throughout the mercifully tender pieces of pork engulfed in onions and sauce. Boy oh boy, this night just kept getting better and better.

And then there was a pause. A pause because we knew we had ordered one more sandwich, the burnt-end brisket sandwich. A cut that while overlooked by many, is a staple of Southern American cuisine.. Essentially, as the name suggests, the heavy charred, fatty ends of the brisket known as the point which, funnily enough are also the tastiest.

As it turned out, the kitchen had made a boo boo. Despite only having elapsed maybe 2-3 minutes after we finished our other two we thought we should alert a nearby waitress who checked and humbly apologised for the mixup. We didn’t care, and even though they turned a new one around in under 5 minutes, they still took it off the bill. That is exceptional service, because we weren’t complaining (We are pretty laid back lads). In 99% of Melbourne’s restaurants this happens on a daily basis, and they don’t even acknowledge the error let alone want to do something about it. What cool cats.

lebonton1In it came, with an order of fries that we decided we needed because we hadn’t already consumed enough calories. Look at the beauty within.. A congealed ball of delicious smokey goodness, layer upon layer of flavours with raw vegetables thrown in for texture and a delectable mayo in there as well. This was the true highlight of the night and honestly likely the best you will get in Australia.

So folks, I have a pretty easy list now for the upper echelon of pulled pork, brisket and burgers. Because they are all in the same joint. Every minute you waste reading this blog entry is one you are missing out on by not being in there.

Le Bon Ton
51 Gipps St, Collingwood
Le Bon Ton on Urbanspoon


Fat Bob’s Bar and Grill

In case it wasn’t obvious…

4K6A2210We go places for a good burger. 35 minute drive to Moorabin in the middle of an Industrial district? I vaguely knew the area, as I have played golf nearby at Kingston Heath a couple of times, and to be perfectly honest, both times were disappointing. Not because of the course, but because of how I played. So it’s ironic then, that a similar trip for a bit of culinary nirvana turned out somewhat of an anti-climax in the end.. Not least of which because we had to postpone our booking because of how popular this place is (Or, has become since the swath of press). Nevertheless, in we rocked up, at around 8:20 when the entire place was heaving with clientele. If this place did 250 seats, they all had arses on them.

4K6A2200Inside,  vintage signs both neon and metal line the walls. And everywhere else, the distinctly texan vibe was palpable. So was my forthcoming need for prescription lenses, because I think by the time I arrived home I had them burned into my retinas. But they were so cool, I didn’t mind in the slightest.

The fit out surrounds tables, booths and bar stools, menu is usual diner but they have a strong emphasis on Sandwiches. Mostly beef, but they do have chicken and vegetarian offerings. Having said that, if you are seriously coming out here for a vegetarian meal than you have bigger issues than the 35 minute wait time we had for our meals. Onwards and upwards, and some popcorn chicken for antipasto was seriously good. With house mayo that was even better. Things were heating up.

4K6A2203Samuel Adams brought the refreshments, because mostly every other American beer on the menu was sold out on the night. Not to say this was an issue, as I love the beer. Apologies for the red sheen, this was the aforementioned signs working their magic.

4K6A2209In came the burger, and look at that beauty. We all decided on the same, a 180 gram beast of a burger with onions two ways, bacon, (added) chilli mayo, and salad. The bun, an altogether too sweat offering for me, was a little bit too Breadtop croissant. It interfered with the spices in the meat. I couldn’t help but think of the buns at Merrywell. Or Captain Melville. Or even The Beaufort.

The patty, despite being beautifully spiced, was way too cooked. Remnants of pink remained, but it was a dry mess. Was it the fact that they were at capacity? Surely not, as this was a Wednesday.. Imagine what they deal with in the busier days. We had 4 identical burgers, and all four were dry. Imagine our disappointment, like 4 little kids who woke up to coal on Christmas day.

J mused that on a good day, with all the stars aligning, this place would be on par with Merrywell for quality of burgers. Maybe. And friends, would that be worth the bush bash when perfection is on your doorstep?

Fat Bob’s Bar and Grill
80A Cochranes Road Moorabbin
Fat Bob's Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon