We've enjoyed the Beaufort's succession of burger-like veg meals over the past year-and-a-bit, especially the scorching Philly Cheese Fake and gone-too-soon battered tofu. Michael caught wind of their new kitchen venture and we made sure to give it a shot within the week. While the pub is still full of salty hipster bluebeard-alikes, the pool room's had a rack shack renovation.
This means ribs. Pork ribs, beef ribs, lamb ribs and... no kidding, vegan ribs! A half rack will set you back $15, but Michael insisted we share the full rack ($28) for full review. As you can see, it's quite the spectacle, and it's not even seitan. It's made of quinoa and corn, though it's no hippy-dippy patty. A thick crust and smoky paprika basting really bring the barbecue, and the rib 'bones' are softer-hearted vegan cheese sticks.
The ribs come accompanied by a pleasant medley of pickled vegetables and slabs of crumbling warm jalapeno cornbread.
Our side salad managed to hold its own against this showstopper - a creamy, nubby, lightly pomegranate-dressed bowl of lentils, avocado and pecans ($9). I could take or leave the slug of truffle oil.
This rack o' ribs is a novel and tasty contribution to Melbourne's mock meat market, and goes a little way to filling the Gasometer-shaped hole in our hearts and stomachs.
You can read about our first visit to the Beaufort here.
421 Rathdowne St, Carlton
Accessibility: The Beaufort has a single step on entry and notably spacious table arrangement - mostly at standard height and with few tables at tall bar height. The rack shack is a little more crowded and includes an additional step up. The lighting's dim and the music is loud. Ordering and payment happens at a high bar, though food is brought to the table. We didn't visit the toilets.