A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Published October 21st 2016
Fancy eating some delicious slow-cooked BBQ meats?
Fancy some slow-cooked American barbecue style food? Then you must visit Fancy Hank's Restaurant, which opens its doors in a new location on Monday 24th October. Bringing a new flavour to the top end of Bourke Street in the CBD, the owners - Kent Bell, Michael Patrick, Daragh Kan and Miles Munro are dedicated to the task of bringing an authentic experience to Melbourne, as indicated by the fact that their massive 2-tonne custom-built smoker had to be crane lifted into the venue.
The Art Deco building has been fully renovated, while maintaining much of the building's original charm
The new venue is in an Art Deco building, and the light fittings, parquetry floors, and windows remain true to the Art Deco style. It's a large venue, with various sections, including a balcony area with great views over Bourke Street.
Fancy Hanks is a large restaurant with various sections
The substantial dishes from the smoker, including beef brisket with a black pepper rub and beef or pork sausage links, made fresh daily, are supplemented by a list of small plates and starters, including hearty dishes such as corn bread with jalapeno butter, baked mac'n'cheese and pit-roasted rutabaga with Alabama BBQ sauce.
I was fortunate enough to attend a preview dinner to get a taste of Fancy Hanks' gourmet style. We started with a selection from the snacks menu - butter milk biscuits ($4) (which tasted just like the yummy scones my Mum used to make), devilled eggs ($1.50), maple glazed belly ham with red eye mayo ($10) (the ham making me think of Christmas) and fried cauliflower with ranch dressing and hot sauce ($8). This was a delightful selection and super filling. Frankly I could have stopped there and felt comfortably fed, but there was so much more to come!
Items from the Snacks menu, from left to right: butter milk biscuits, maple glazed belly ham, devilled eggs
A huge platter of meat arrived, giving us the opportunity to taste a selection of the meats from the smoker. The brisket was a dream, so tender and flavoursome, with the subtle spiciness of the black pepper rub. I also particularly enjoyed the chicken (buttermilk brined, free range), which had the crispiness of roast chicken but without the fat. Note that this was a sample platter so it doesn't necessarily represent a standard serving. The brisket (200g) is $22, the chicken $20 for a half, $40 for a whole bird.
The meat platter. From front to back: brisket, pulled pork shoulder, chicken, sausage links
The meat platter was accompanied by a bunch of side dishes, including coleslaw Kentucky style ($12) and corn bread with Jalapeņo butter ($12). My favourite of the sides, though, was the pit braised beans, with molasses, smoked bacon and sour cream ($14).
Luckily we are equipped with a 'dessert stomach', so I was able to try the Cafe du Monde, doughnuts and coffee pudding ($12). I did enjoy the coffee pudding, which had a great flavour and a creamy smooth texture. I'm not a big fan of doughnuts, and I'd have to say that on this occasion, they did not convince me to change my views, being a little chewy. Another dessert to try on a return visit might be the Sweet Potato Casserole, with vanilla marshmallow ($12).
Fancy Hanks also serves cocktails and it would be great to sit out on the balcony and enjoy the views while sipping a drink.
The balcony area - this would be a great place to sit and enjoy the view
For a casual drink with even better views, there will also be a rooftop bar - Good Heavens - opening on 28th October.
Fancy Hanks is located at Level 1, 79 Bourke Street, Melbourne. It is open 7 days from 12 noon to 11pm. To make a reservation, call 1300 BRISKET, or book online by clicking here.
The images used in this article were taken by the writer. They are not to be reproduced in any form without the express permission of WeekendNotes.