Everyone’s favourite American BBQ joint, Meatmother, has been redefined with a sharp new concept based around four little words – BBQ, BUNS, SOURS, CANS – bringing a brand-new experience to Swan Street.
Owner/operator Neil Hamblen knows the challenge in staying front-of-mind in a city as restaurant-heavy as Melbourne. Having watched Richmond’s customer base shift over the last few years and competition grow on Swan Street, he knew it was time for Meatmother to embrace a new look and rediscover its strengths.
The first step is this reinvention was arguably the most important element of any restaurant – the food. Neil worked with Tom Johnson, head chef at their sister venue Meatmaiden in the CBD, to design the new offering. As a Richmond local and notorious late-night food expert, Tom knew what the people wanted and concentrated on creating a more casual menu that reflected the vibe of the area. The result is a dirty yet refined collection of meats and buns, cocktails and beers, based around the themes of smoke, meat and barbecue.
With the landscape changing in how customers eat out and in, the offering is also designed around take-out and delivery as much as dining within the venue. Meatmother’s new menu will be going live with Uber Eats from this week.
It all begins with dishes like jalapeno-butter popcorn, fire corn and Mother fried pork with aioli, before moving onto buns stuffed with pulled pork, lime mayo and pineapple salsa, and sticky BBQ pork, pickled vegetables and kewpie mayo.
If buns aren’t your style, the naked options hit the spot. Meatmother’s top-selling 12-hour smoked brisket is served with special house-made BBQ sauce, while fried chicken is simultaneously spiced up by hot sauce and cooled down by pickled watermelon. A range of sides and loaded chips with burnt ends complete the offering; apart from one wicked little hot fudge sundae dessert.
The drinks menu also refocuses Meatmother’s heritage, with its emphasis on craft beer and cocktails now coming in the shape of cans and sours. Abbotsford brewery Moon Dog flies solo on tap with its Old Mate pale ale, sitting alongside tinnies from the likes of Balter, Colonial, Mornington and Pirate Life. Or go for the harder stuff and try the Aperol Sour for something a little leftfield, with Aperol, watermelon syrup, lemon, orange bitters and egg white.
It wasn’t just the menu that received a makeover, with the Meatmother space also updated and reimagined. Tim Meyer was at the heart of the original brand and venue design while at Urchin Associates. Now with his own brand and communications agency – Meijer in Collingwood – Tim was brought back on board with the brief to have fun updating the look, but stay true to its roots.
Tim turned to the humble tin can. An industrial icon, he recognised its broad appeal and the relaxed vibe it would emanate. Tim brought this idea to life through a number of carefully considered elements: a painstakingly-put-together feature wall made of 400 cans, custom light fittings, and an emphasis on creating patterns with multiple stacks of cans. Artwork featuring some of Melbourne’s most visual (crushed) craft beer cans completes the aesthetic, forming a strong visual theme that ties in perfectly with what’s on offer on the menu.
In recognising the need to adapt and change, this Richmond favourite has created something unique for an ever-evolving market. It’s Meatmother, but not as you know it.
This editorial was created with Meatmother.