Lazerpig

I must admit…

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Things have been a little quiet on the blogging front. My Instagram account has been getting the most love lately with Boccaccio taking up the majority of my blogging time – though I hope to get back into some regularity, and what better place to begin than our journey to Lazerpig.

At first glance you’d be forgiven for thinking this place churns out anything other than mixed grills and bar nuts in a glass – but step inside (Past the neon swine sign) and you’re immediately transported into retro-chic, complete with open fire and chequered table clothes. Lucky I wasn’t wearing my work shirt of the same pattern or the wait staff may have served the meal on my shoulders. On the topic of wait staff, therein lay my only real gripe with this place. The service was a bit too relaxed for me. 45 minutes a bit long to wait, but in the end it was worth it – read on.

We started with with another on our hit list – the wagyu cheeseburger. Plain and simple grass fed patty on brioche.

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There are some instances where you can be let down by something so beautiful, but we knew when picking up this gorgeous slab of protein and taking in the smell, and the feel, we knew that it was going to be special. And it was. This burger was rich, creamy decadent and in perfect balance. We didn’t even add bacon or double down on the patties.

Guess who just stole #1 Burger of 2015? Yep, you betcha.

Feeling content, we realised these guys also do artisan Neapolitan pizzas. By that I mean they have their own sourdough culture, practise long fermentation (72 hours) and bake in a wood oven.

I was a bit skeptical with Neapolitan and 72 hours. This I’ve noticed always means the dough goes in the fridge. With sourdough culture, and such short bake times in the wood oven, this almost always results in a crust that can get gummy. 48 hours for me is the sweet spot, and while these crusts were still very light and malleable, they did suffer a little bit.

Nevertheless, having my own culture, I couldn’t leave without trying them – albeit with a little bit of trepidation. After all, could a place really do a good burger and pizza?

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We were floored. The pizzaiolo, obviously skilled, had made such fantastic beautiful cornicione. They sat about an inch deep and the leopard-laden crust was testament to authentic sourdough. The salami and olives were superb.

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We finished with a prosciutto – my personal go-to favourite. San Daniele and buffalo mozzarella married perfectly.

So Lazerpig for us was a serious winner. It’s a relaxed, cozy, and (in winter) perfectly homely with an open fire. Go for a pizza, go for a burger, or – if you are as hell set on obesity as we are – why not go for both?

Lazerpig
9-11 Peel St, Collingwood

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The Kodiak Club

Some things just take forever to do…

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Its not my fault that the growing trend of ‘Closed on Tuesday’ is getting bigger. Am I missing something here? What makes Tuesday so much different to Monday? I don’t know anyone who has ever said ‘Shit, it’s Tightarse Tuesday. Better stay home.’ So much so that Kodiak Club has taken at least a year for us to get to for review. Well finally, we managed to corral the crew into the joint on a Monday, and it was empty. JW said this places heaves on the weekends, which is good because they have such an amazing collection of American beers and bourbon and I can only imagine the atmosphere when this place gets busy.

IMG_6096The burgers, as you would expect, were equally amazing. 2 grass fed beef patties with American (didn’t say what, i’ll say Jack) Cheese, pickle, onion and a bourbon mayo. The sauce was just enough to give you a whiff, but you can add additional if you wish. We found no need, but did give it a healthy dose of chilli sauce.

As an aside, I don’t buy into the Waygu bullshit hype anymore – neither should you. A good blend of meat, (most good places will go with the tried-and-tested ground chuck from good quality cows), and Wagyu, are almost indiscernible for a couple of reasons.

1 – Unless it is true Japanese Wagyu such as Kobe or my favourite Omi, it is imitation. Plain and simple. American and Australian versions are just that – versions – and whilst they offer generally a leaner cut of Wagyu the taste is more towards a traditional cow than of the Japanese sort. Don’t get me wrong, I love Aussie waygu, and use it religiously, but you shouldnt be paying any extra for it in your burger and you will not taste any difference in the final product. This is also because:

2 – Waygu is made to be cooked the complete opposite to how burgers generally are. Burgers are blended and moulded and thrown on the griddle at scorching temperatures aiming at a really quick cook time. Waygu on the other hand, has fats that render at lower temperatures, hence need to be caressed into a medium rare temperature. Get it wrong, and you risk consuming a consummate mess of burned fat and meat, even if it is still pink. Thats not saying it can’t be done right, you only have to look at Huxtaburger to see Aussie Wagyu Burgers done well – its just that it’s not necessary. Having the privilege to eat at Spotted Pig and Minetta Tavern in New York, I can tell you the cuts of beef used are more important than weather it is Wagyu or not.

Back on topic, this was a stunner on the night. Crinkle Cut fries were ok (Of the frozen sort me thinks) but the burger was absolutely sensational. Cooked to a perfect pink, the bun was brioche but not overly sweet and the cheese just set it all off. This will go down as one of Melbourne’s top burgers in 2014, and for good reason. Go now!

The Kodiak Club
272 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
The Kodiak Club on Urbanspoon

Eat 8-Bit

Footscray sure is an interesting area..

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By day, it is a bustling, down under replica of downtain Saigon; replete with more Vietnamese bars, supermarkets and restaurants than you can shake a Banh Mi at.

By night however, it drops into a monochromatic urban jungle and then out of the blue, like a Goomba, up pops 8-Bit, Melbourne’s newest Huxtaburger clone to try to take a piece of out of the ever expanding market.

The fit-out is modern, clean and cosy.. Just a handful of tables + chairs and even fewer bar stools line the joint. Be prepared to wait, our visit was absolutely heaving and with a phone directory of take-away orders our wait was approximated at around 40 minutes.. Just enough time to grab a beer, and sit down with J and talk rubbish. Except we couldn’t sit down, because there were no vacant seats. That’s ok, because we just grabbed a beer and stood. Oh no, we couldn’t do that either – No liquor license. Maybe we can BYO? Nope, not an option either. Well poo. We didn’t feel like shooting the proverbial over a glass of Taro Milk, so we wandered the streets while we waited.

We couldn’t locate any liquor stores, and the only lady who wanted to help us owned a Vietnamese Supermarket. When we mentioned we were after beer, she motioned to the nearby alleyway. Not feeling adventurous, we decided to visit an empty restaurant and pickup a bottle of China’s finest (Read: Worst). At $5 though, whose complaining.

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We decided to consume it in an nearby piazza, complete with public urinal and pokies venue. Geez we felt classy. This was possibly not 100% legal per-se, but just as food safety inspectors tend to avoid the area, so too on the evening did the local constabulary.

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Anyway, realising the time, but not having heard anything from our server who we were told would call us when our order was ready, we decided to check in anyway as the time was nudging 9pm. For two men who’s metabolism rate sits only slightly below the speed of light, this was an eternity.

So then, you can imagine the look on J’s face when he spies our order on the counter that had been neglected long enough for the beer battered fries to turn into a a cold mess and the burger not far behind. Not content having waited almost an hour, we requested they jettison it and we waited around 10 minutes for a replacement.

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Truth be told, I’m probably being a little negative in my review… But Let me tell you, the burger was awesome. The service (Or, more concisely, the lack thereof) was however truly disappointing.

I’m not 100% sure how they managed to bang out replacements in 10 minutes (The fries weren’t terribly hot either..Take that how you will) but you really can’t fault the way it was devised, constructed and displayed. I had the Altered Beast which comprised Beef, Bacon, Cheese, Grilled onions, Lettuce, 8BIT sauce, BBQ sauce and the addition of Jalapeño. 

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At $25 for the both of us (No drinks), there’s certainly value to be had in 8Bit. The burgers were great, very delicate flavours, creamy succulent patties and the brioche was good.

I’m not sure about the chips, they were not bad but i’m sure the only ‘beer batter’ was what was written on the side of the box they came in.

It’s hard to say whether I’d suggest making the hike out especially, and I’m not sure, of your own accord, how many of you will find yourselves out on the streets of Footscray at night. If you are though, or are local to the area, takeaway I’m assuming is where this place would excel. Give it a go.
Eat 8 Bit
8 Droop St, Footscray
Eat8bit on Urbanspoon

 

 

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

The Beer and Burger Lounge

Nestled snuggly…

4K6A2170Down the drunk end of Swan St, an area few are likely to see short of an inebriated drinking session during AFL Season lies this quirky beer-lounge-meets-burger-bar  where the variety of ales on show is rivalled only by the pub grub on offer.

4K6A2172Sat behind the counter, lies the area where the magic happens. long rows of grillers and stoves show exactly what goes on beneath the menu right down to the salamander that is the secret to the crispy bun – the finished burger is sat inside it for a good minute to ensure no cheese remains unmelted.

4K6A2174We decided on identical numbers (Great for consistency in theory, but in reality its because we generally like all things the same right down to the type of girls we are allowed to date).  This particular sandwich came packed with a good quarter pound patty, lettuce, cheese, bacon, bbq sauce and a delectable brioche. Jettisoning the undercooked onion ring, we set out to tame our insatiable apetities.

Without question this is a quality burger. You don’t even have to eat the thing to realise. You could simply print a cutout of the above photo, season it with a bit of salt and pepper and eat it and the flavour would still burst through the page. Simple yet effective ingredients and an inch-perfect cook time are all you really need. And one of the biggest factors; a brioche bun that is mated dimensionally perfect to the patty it houses.

4K6A2175Add to this some frozen potato planks which were fine, if not overly impressive.. And you have a pretty comprehensive package. So, if you find yourself in the area, and you want a quality burger fix, head on down to the BBL. You won’t be disappointed.

The Beer and Burger Lounge
112 Swan St, Richmond VIC 3121
The Beer and Burger Lounge on Urbanspoon

Rockwell and Sons

It’s another outing…

rockwell4..For the biggest category of my blog. The one I’m constantly accused of basing my blog around. But seriously, when the category of burgers in Melbourne is so strong, it can’t really be helped. If I started this entry with ‘American chef, diner focused menu, brioche etc’ you could be mistaken for thinking this was any other of the number of entries I’ve made.. But Rockwell and Sons is different.

It was your typical Burger Tuesday adventure, except for the fact that it was on a Thursday, and Rockwell and Sons was one of the last cards in the deck left to play of Melbourne’s elite. (Funnily enough, Rockpool Bar and Grill –  considered the holy grail, is all that remains). We arrived just before 8 to a packed restaurant consisting of a solid wood Southern American dining environment where we were sat opposite the open kitchen and were able to see the American classics like Southern buttermilk fried chicken sandwiches, pressed rib sandwiches (not burgers)  and, of course, their trademark double patty smash – a burger filled with a pair of juicy patties,  some crunchy greenery to add texture, one of the most delectable extremely buttery brioche buns (buttermilk i suspect) and.. of all things, Kraft slices. A myriad of  cheeses were tested initially, but owner Casey (pictured above) ultimately decided that this Aussie classic would get the gong. For good reason too, because this creamy, dreamy, calorie laden packet of goodness set my taste buds in a tango.

A fantastic craft beer selection (With lots of exotic American specimens – some even with matching exotic price tags) and an eclectic wine list compliment food beautifully.

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There was just something special about the burger. The way it got the flavours flowing was baffling, testament of obvious skills and expertise from the kitchen. It might not look the best, it might not have the most inspiring of ingredients, but the way everything just worked together, that the seamless patties were cooked to perfection and blended straight into the burger without dominating it.. And finally, that special sauce.

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Thick, hand cut fries were huge, and unfortunately (And I stress – on the night) uninspiring. Dry and withered, they were the only disappointment of the night. I’m sure on a good day these would deliver however.

I know it probably etches into too creamy territory, but these guys get away with it. Ignore the obvious fact that the lactose intolerant will by next morning be inseparable from their porcelain thrones due to the high dairy content, and just get on down to Rockwell and Sons. Because, and I can’t stress this enough, it will be one of your crowning life achievements to have eaten here.

Rockwell and Sons
288 Smith St, Collingwood
http://www.rockwellandsons.com.au
Rockwell and Sons on Urbanspoon

The Spotted Mallard

Same day, same drill..

4K6A1794Off into Melbourne’s abyss with the unreachable task of continually indulging in burgers that impress us more than the last. This particular cold, windy Tuesday night saw myself, J, JW, and T take a journey along the unlikeliest of all places to get a burger fix: Sydney Rd. Known more for it’s unnecessary vandalism and continual “unfortunate” insurance fires, we thought we’d take the hint left by a friend and check it out.

Intially, when you board the high wooden stairs you’re transported into a jazz room of sorts, albeit one with an expansive seating arrangement and even more expansive ceiling line.

4K6A1796Sitting down, we thought we’d try the signature “Spotted Mallard Wagyu Beef and Bacon Burger”: A concoction of 200grams of Wagyu beef coupled with streaky bacon, gruyere, onions, pickles, chipotle mayo and brioche.

4K6A1797The verdict? I guess if you can give full marks to mediocrity, it would score perfectly. That’s not to say that this was a bad burger, ney, it was perfectly fine. Edging on the ‘fish ‘n chip’ (as opposed to American) take on hamburgers, it was adequately greasy (complete with grease-proof paper – a necessity) and the sort of chopped iceberg lettuce you’d expect on the corner shops of old. It’s just that, on this particular night, we’d expect more from a place that gained the fabled ‘Go Now!’ appellation on that burger blog, and unfortunately, it just didn’t live up to it. The patty? All class, cooked to perfection, medium pink and just itching to be eaten. It marries perfecly to the saltiness of the streaky bacon, and the gruyere cheese is unmissable. The chipotle mayo? I guess the peppers were more of an afterthought, as they were all-together forgotten about (And yes, i make my own). The triple cooked planks of potato, only seethe clientele because it’s all too easy to simply dry them out.. I’m still not convinced, and would have preferred the much more traditional french fries.

The good news? Under it’s current guise it’s only been open since 2012, so improvements and refinements are sure to be had. A starting point? Those damn chips. Whilst they’re not the only offenders (I still think Huxtaburger’s are awful, and everyone could take a leaf out of The Merrywell, or Beatbox) it’s sure to be one of those places, where if evolution keeps ticking along, it will be one to watch in the future.

Would I recommend it? Absolutely, if you’re in the area or keen to try something that doesn’t dare adventure beyond the tried and tested recipe for success then this place will leave you more than satiated.

The Spotted Mallard
314 Sydney Rd, Brunswick VIC
spottedmallard.com
The Spotted Mallard on Urbanspoon

Trunk Diner

Another lazy tuesday…

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with myself an J in the car, with no real inspiration of where we were going yet, and with an emphasis on burgers it was going to be all too easy to return to a classic haunt like Merrywell or Captain Melville. Our persistence saw us frantically researching as we made our way into the CBD. We eventually settled on Trunk Diner, a historic site in Exhibition St in the heart of Melbourne that once housed a 19th century synagogue. Now, it’s pork abound with classic American favourites such as waffles, burgers and pie. Curiously, the old house did specialise in Italian favourites. Perhaps they still do, we didn’t hang around to find out. Instead, we entered the granny flat out the back of sorts – a pseudo tin shed complete with front-end bar and a dining hall.

4K6A1323We knew what we had come for – the burgers here are a class act. If not for the value ($10), certainly for the produce (wagyu beef). The 175gr pattie is mated to a perfectly grilled brioche that had notes of caramel, buttermilk and toasted wheat. It’s, i suppose, in the extras where the money is to be made, but they certainly don’t dissapoint.

4K6A1319I could use every superlative available to describe this masterpiece. Presented semi-deconstructed on the plate, J and I added Monterey Jack (cheese, a personal favourite $1.50), Jalapeño ($1.5) and bacon ($2). If you let the deceptively small size fool you, you’d think this would be a quick feast – and you’d be dead wrong. The burger is more Texan (high) than New Yorker (wide) in influence and as such it’s remarkably easy to hold. For the first time I think ever, I managed to keep mine together while J made a meal of it. The sliced pickles were a nice touch, and a slice of lettuce delivered a crisp crunch. I never do raw tomato in a burger so I jettisoned that, and the spanish onions are a nice touch but a little too powerful. If you’re after that, you’re far better opting for the ($2) caramelised ones.

The first thing that struck me was just how well integrated the Jack was into the patty. Melted to perfection, and mated to the thin strips of crispy bacon (to which you get a mighty fine serving)  was a perfect marriage of flavours and the fact that I opted to add no sauces to this is testament to how good it was.

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Shoestring chips were doused in El Yucateco Salsa Roja Habanero which, as J rightly proclaimed, should  come with a disclaimer about its potency. We actually had to take a 5 minute pause because eyes were watering, noses were running and no doubt bottoms were quivering with the prospect the next morning’s  purge. The BBQ sauce (Sunday’s Super Sauce) was ok but honestly I am starting to tire of the monotonous American BBQ sauces with artificial high-fructose injected hickory smoke overtones.

As the night was still young, and we were still on such a high from those glorious burgers, we decided to double down and try something different.

4K6A1322This one substituted Monterey for Gruyere and Jalapeño for caramelised onions. Whilst it was still glorious, our first recipe is definately the finest.

4K6A1324So then, Trunk Diner is the sort of place you wouldn’t hesitate to visit, and indeed return to. It serves up some pretty classic American favourites, and it’s burgers will impress.

Trunk Diner
275 Exihibition St Melbourne 3000
http://www.trunktown.com.au/
Trunk Diner on Urbanspoon

Antica Macelleria Cecchini

Dario is no ordinary butcher…

dario 21Well, in the simplest sense of the word, perhaps he is. He runs a small butcher shop in the tuscan town of Panzano, but unlike other food celebrity figures, you will see him here running the shop  every day of the week.

dario 20He is a true maestro in every sense of the word. Even routine things that other icons wouldn’t dare be seen doing, such as answering the phone for orders, Dario does.. And does so with passion. When we entered, we were immediately offered a bicchiere of wine, even just for looking. We were given bread with lardo, olive oil, even fresh salami. In the commerce part of the shop, a simple yet stylish meat cabinet gives you a glimpse of just what the place is about. Fresh cuts cryovac’d and out for display, and  everything available to eat in the kitchen is available to take home as a cut.

dario 19So what is it about Dario’s that is so important? It’s the little things. The attention to detail, the passion behind the work, and of course the quality of the meat. It’s not your typical Italian venue where customer service doesn’t exist, and even if it’s become one of the World’s great landmarks for meat lovers, the staff still enjoy interacting with customers and making sure they are well looked after.

Oh, it’s worth noting too that he is the King of Tuscany’s regional dish: The bistecca alla Fiorentina: A monstrous 1KG+ piece of T-Bone cooked on the bone, from a special type of beef called Chianina which has more age than your typical cow when slaughtered and needs more attention when cooked as a result.

dario 17Dario is a magician when it comes to preparing cuts of meat such as beef and pork, and his propiertary blend of wild fennel pollen gives the store an unbelievable aroma.

dario 16The meat fresh, vibrant and very affordable.

dario 15Upstairs, we were treated to a recently developed kitchen and dining hall complete with a large communal table and smaller ones in the corners. The big one gave us firm views of the coal pit where the chefs prepared the meat using nothing but a few levers, a plate and some red hot coals.

dario 14For lunch, you have some great small options. We opted for the ‘Super Dario’ consisting of a 250g deconstructed beef burger and a plate of assorted house specialities like tomato puree and fresh fagioli.

dario 13Wine lists are non-existant, but you can opt for the house stuff or take advantage of the free corkage. We did.

dario 11Arriving first was a bowl of the freshest ingredients you will see. Fennel, carrots, celery, and onions which only a few hours earlier were still buried in the ground.

dario 4Oh, and you dress it yourself how you like.

dario 9Sure, the theatrics almost impress as much as the meal. They enjoy working as much as you enjoy eating.

dario 10The proprietary blend of salt and herbs went fantastic in the fresh olive oil as you dipped in the vegetables. It also was spanking on the potatoes.

dario 12The condiments were great too. The highlight a house tomato ketchup made with Chianti.

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Seeing the beef ready to go on made you salivate, and looking at the colour of the patty gave testament to the institution Dario has created.

dario 6As the beef patties are house ground and so fresh, the Tuscans recommend serving it sangue, or rare. I went for mine medium.

dario 3The plate came bustling with food, and with the sides you needn’t worry about leaving hungry. The cost of everything here? A ridiculous €15.

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Even with the coffee they go the extra mile, serving with Tuscan olive oil cake free of charge really adds to the homely feel.

dario 1And that, in a nutshell, is what Dario’s is about. It’s an institution and a mecca for meat lovers the World over. If you are ever in Tuscany, take the scenic route and head to Panzano where you will see Dario working his magic.

Antica Macelleria Cecchini
Via XX Luglio 11, Panzano, Tuscany
http://www.dariocecchini.com