Sydney

Ribs & Burgers, Neutral Bay

I’m a huge fan of cooking ribs at home – they’re such a tasty cut of meat. Typically I’ll marinade the ribs in spices and/or seasoning and slow cook them for a good 3-4 hours. My husband, as you can imagine, will literally rush home from work knowing that pork ribs or lamb ribs are waiting for him.

So, when I found out that Ribs & Burgers sources high quality grass-fed meats and supports local farmers I was interested. And after reading that when it comes to the ribs ‘’no effort is spared to prepare these beauties’’ I had to try them. Ribs and Burgers has over 10 branches across Australia, mainly in New South Wales and Victoria. I visited my local branch in Neutral Bay, which also happens to be the founding branch. It’s located just off Military Road moments away from The Oaks Hotel.

Ribs & Burgers, Neutral BayRibs & Burgers is intended to feel like a restaurant started by your local butcher, and they speak to this with everything from the vintage butcher photography hanging from the walls to the bold statements printed on the walls. They’re the pre-feast signs that this is no ordinary ribs or burger joint.

Ribs & Burgers, Neutral Bay

Ribs & Burgers, Neutral BayInside a giant blackboard menu covers everything from ribs and burgers (as you’d expect) to salads, sides, kids dishes and more. Early on a Saturday evening almost every table was full – a mix of families, couples and friends. We scored one of the cosy booths towards the back of the restaurant.

Ribs & Burgers, Neutral BayYou place your order at the counter, grab a table and then wait for your food to arrive. The drinks menu includes beers, wines and more so you can enjoy a drink, perhaps snacking on their moorish onion rings as a snack, whilst your food is prepared.

Ribs & Burgers, Neutral Bay

Ribs & Burgers, Neutral BayThe first dish I tried was the chicken breasts, one of the dishes from the ‘on a board’ section of the menu. The chicken is free-range and comes in a huge serving considering the $19 price tag. Two super juicy breasts have been basted with lemon and herbs and then char-grilled. It comes with a choice of side and is a perfect option for those wanting to avoid red meat or carbs. I’d return for this dish as a healthy lunch.

Ribs & Burgers, Neutral BayChicken breasts on a board – char-grilled $19

Next came the ribs – the menu covers lamb, pork and beef or a combination of two choices. They’re all marinated, slow cooked for eight hours then grilled and caramelised with a secret basting. Hence my earlier reference to “no effort is spared to prepare these beauties”.

I opted for the American smoky spare ribs after quizzing the friendly staff on which option contained the least sugar in the marinade. After only a couple of mouthfuls in and I was sure I’d be back for a full rack of ribs to myself – when something is this good you don’t want to share.

Ribs & Burgers, Neutral BayAmerican smoky spare ribs, with chips or cabbage salad $28

I couldn’t leave without being able to report back on the burgers so not surprising ‘the steakhouse burger’ came next.  Not only are the burger patties made of grass-fed beef, but the buns are also made using organic flour. Gluten free or low carb? Don’t worry – all burgers can be served ‘naked’. And the broad menu covers chicken, fish and veggie options for those looking for something other than beef.

Ribs & Burgers, Neutral BaySteakhouse burger $18.50

The steakhouse burger is made up of pasture-fed rib eye with caramelised onion, tomato, baby cos, dill pickles and BBQ sauce. And in a global celebration of sauces you can pair your burger with everything from Tabasco to (my childhood pre sugar elimination sauce of choice) HP Sauce.

They want it to feel like a restaurant started by your lcoal butcher, and they speak to this with the vintage butcher photography hanging from the walls. Not forgetting the side dishes – both the cabbage salad and butcher’s salad are worth a mention. I really was expecting them to be very much secondary to the hero meat dishes. But both salads were fresh, light and tasty and made up of the kind of fresh produce I’ll pull together in a salad at home. The crunchy cabbage salad for example included red and white cabbage, chopped apple, roasted pine nuts, mint and parsley with a light vinaigrette dressing. I’d be easily convinced on my next visit to stay away from the naughty option of chips.

Ribs & Burgers, Neutral BayOverall, as a lover of the occasional meat feast, I was really surprised by Ribs & Burgers. Many times I’ve walked past and wrongly thought of it as a quick ‘in and out’ posh take-away chain. By contrast it’s actually a great casual alternative to nearby restaurants. You don’t have to book in advance, its super kid friendly and with everything on the menu offering value for money you’ll come away without spending a fortune. Even better is that 5% of everything you spend can be loaded onto a loyalty card for future redemption – another excuse to indulge in Ribs & Burgers again.

By Laura (Feast Wisely)

 I dined thanks to an invitation from Ribs & Burgers & all opinions are my own

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