A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Published June 13th 2019
Fancy a big beautiful piece of bbq brisket?
I was surprised to see it had been almost three years since my last visit to Fancy Hank's in Bourke Street. I had fond memories of the previous visit; the delicious food, the generous serves, and the friendly vibe of the place all making for a great experience.
Inside Fancy Hank's
While executive chef (and co-owner) Mike Patrick would not get away with taking some of the firm favourites off the menu (for example, the 14-hour smoked brisket, or the slow-cooked lamb ribs), the start of winter nevertheless provides an opportunity to introduce some seasonally inspired and appropriate dishes.
The kitchen at Fancy Hank's, where the chefs are always s-m-o-k-i-n'...
I recently had the opportunity to sample some of the dishes on the winter menu.
While there is a meat dominance in Fancy Hank's menu (no surprise in a barbecue restaurant), there are also, perhaps more surprisingly, some smaller, more delicate and less meaty options. One of these is the smoked whitefish (with sour cucumber pickles, dill and preserved lemon) ($13).
Smoked whitefish - delicate
In the background of the image, you can see another non meaty, smaller starter - devilled eggs (with pickled chilli) ($3). The eggs led to several comments of 'I can't remember the last time I had devilled eggs, but aren't they GOOD'!
Moving on to the meat selection, we tried sweet and sour BBQ wings (with yoghurt ranch) ($17), grilled octopus (with 'nduja vinaigrette and rouille) ($18) and lamb ribs (with chermoula, burnt eggplant, and za'atar) ($32). I would find it very difficult to pick a favourite from these three dishes, they were all so delicious! The flavour combinations were amazing, and everything was cooked to perfection. The lamb ribs perhaps just slightly edged out the others, just so succulent. And the sprinkling of pomegranate arils gave them an almost festive appearance.
Lamb ribs - so succulent!
I admit to already feeling full by this stage, but there was more to come, and I couldn't resist it. You can't visit Fancy Hank's and NOT try the brisket ($29). And it didn't disappoint. It was hot-knife-through-butter tender to cut and melted in the mouth. The relatively simple accompaniments of the coffee molasses and red onion pickles were all that were needed to round out this perfect dish.
14-hour smoked brisket with coffee molasses and red onion pickles - simple perfection
I had a taste of the free-range smoked half chicken, with creamed corn, pickles and chicken gravy ($28), and loved the deep smokiness of the dish. I also had to sample another dish one simply MUST try at Fancy Hank's, and that is the mac 'n' cheese. It is comfort food at its absolute best.
Mac 'n' cheese - another 'must try' dish at Fancy Hank's
Typical perhaps of a barbecue restaurant, there is not a strong focus on desserts, but there are nevertheless three options available. Only in the interests of review completeness did I manage a taste of one of them: the smoked white chocolate pavlova with soured berries and goats' yoghurt custard ($14). And yes, it tastes as good as it looks!
Smoked white chocolate pavlova
I highly recommend a visit to Fancy Hank's to experience their great food and friendly service. I'm quite sure I'll be back there soon.