Yet another place that has been sitting on my to-go-list, as it does for many people, the name of Ribs & Burgers pretty much speaks for itself.
I had always thought it to be a small joint, but the restaurant is actually attached to the corner of Northcote Plaza and its seating extends outside. It was surprisingly just about the same size as the Degani cafe located right across from it. I mistakenly thought it looked quiet from the empty outside seating, but as it was the beginning of the lunch hour, I swallowed these thoughts as I saw a queue of people waiting to order and sit down.
Similarly, from the online information available, I thought that the menu would be fairly limited. How wrong I was, as we lined up to be greeted by a humungous menu board listing double the amount I thought they had on offer. Click on the image below for a closer look!
I took my little sister with me and treated her for completing VCE – so there’s no holding back when there’s a reason to celebrate. Not to mention, we eat a lot. So we couldn’t help but order a small side of their “famous chips” ($4) AND onion rings ($5, below) because I had heard good things about them.
The chips came in quite a large serving for a small, but I’m not sure what is so famous about them. They are thickly cut, the way I like them, and not too salty. But there’s no seasoning or anything that can make them stand out from a normal bowl of chips.
The onion rings were definitely different, not thickly battered like fast food chains. They were thin and crunchy but lots of these thin pieces make you feel like you are receiving a heavy dose of just onion. Thus, the one size serving they have is quite large when you feel the strong taste of onion. It would be fine in small doses so we probably needed a few more people to help us finish it.
I definitely wanted a burger, as sometimes a whole steak or slab of ribs can be a bit much even for a hungry person like me. I compromised with a steakhouse burger, which included pasture fed rib-eye, caramelised onion, their pink and BBQ sauce and the usual lettuce, tomato and pickle ($18, above).
The burger was good, the steak done just right. There’s a note at the entrance saying all meat is done medium rare unless requested otherwise, and this is how it was served so I was happy with that. The mixture of their pink and BBQ sauces was also flavoursome, as I enjoy BBQ more than tomato and the pink was more of a light, creamy sauce. I can’t fault it but at the same time I cannot find a factor that makes me want to rave about the place. I also enjoy their boards and presentation, perfect for eating a messy meal.
My little sister got the mini burgers, which I thought would actually be smaller than the above. It’s a very good option if you want to taste a few of their burgers – it includes a beef, chicken and lamb burger for $18. I only had a taste of her chicken as I enjoy the creamier sauces that go with chicken and enjoyed it a lot. Her favourite was the beef but unfortunately her lamb was a bit burnt.
She was quite full after the mini burgers, whereas I felt like I could keep going after my steak burger and was happy to munch on the chips and onion rings. If I come next time I think I need to try the other part of their name – their ribs, before I can completely write off the hype of this place. It was definitely good and filling, but I didn’t feel there was much that was unique about them.
The service also seems to be an aspect that people aren’t too happy about. After ordering at the front, they provide you with a bucket (above) full of utensils for you to take to your table. I thought it was cute but it seems people do not like the idea of ordering before sitting. It’s understandable that this may be annoying at peak hour during dinner – but there are many places where you have to line up to order such as Laurie Dee’s and Misty’s Diner.
However, I can also see where people are coming from. You feel like the staff who deliver your food are not there to serve really. Even when I asked for water, they told me to get it from the bench where there’s a tap with glasses.
As it’s not too far and the food was good, I wouldn’t mind going back but to try some other items on the menu. The service, or lack of, isn’t something that really deters me as many places are choosing to operate in this way. The most important thing would be the food, of which there was not much fault this time around.
Ribs and Burgers is located at Shop 94-96, 3 Separation Street, Northcote Plaza, Northcote. They are open Sun-Thurs 11am – 9:30pm and Fri-Sat 11am – 10pm.