There has long been a bitterness inside me, at the potential of Preston, but the lack of quality eateries. I mean besides the cheap, satisfying Asian meals. I have often felt like areas like High St need something refreshing.
My prayers have been answered with Dexter, a new meatery and bar, easily found if you look out for a sign with an X next to Beaurepaires. How unsuspecting, but how very Melbourne!
Dexter just opened last Wednesday and we came in late on Friday. Everyone else present was enjoying a few drinks at a bench with chairs surrounding all sides. Similarly to cafe Slater St Bench, it removes the barrier between the staff and customers.
First up – hot meat donuts ($4.50 each)!
Crunchy on the outside like an arancini ball, but hot and meaty inside, I was a little lost for words. But after it sank in, I decided I loved it! The sauce had some undertones of Italian pasta sauce but mixed with hot sauce, like sriracha perhaps (I saw some behind me). Verdict – delicious!
I also love eggplant, so yes, I went to a meatery to order BBQ eggplant ($19). It didn’t beat the amazing eggplant at Eis Japanese Restaurant, but they are pretty different eateries with different goals and it tasted how I wanted – eggplant with a smoky BBQ edge.
It also comes served with some fried polenta fingers, which were thick and coated with a crunchy exterior.
Also on the tray were our caramelised short ribs ($26), tender and falling off the bone. It seems a lot of testing has gone into each of these dishes, as I often lost track of how many steps our host (Sam, one of the owners) told us they went through. Whatever they’re doing – they are doing it right!
Unfortunately, they had been busy for lunch and run out of brioche buns. I was still able to get the Big Dexter with pulled pork, beef brisket and smoked drippings, but I had to imagine the element of sweetness.
For $16, this burger is PACKED with meat and oozing with sauce. All the meat has that signature smoky flavour, but rather than provide a repetitive taste, it enhances each meat’s flavour. Not for the faint-hearted.
Their burgers are also available for takeaway for those in the area!
This is when we should have stopped…but The Adventouriist was after more mash and for some reason, she also ordered the fried chicken ($15). This chicken had undergone some lengthy processes over the past three days, with the main aim to retain its moisture.
I can safely say it did exactly that. The inside was so juicy, not like any fried chicken I’ve had before. The skin is still crispy with some extra salty flavour, so when eaten with the inside it is a perfect combination. If you find yourself eating the skin without the inside meat, you might find it too salty.
Despite this, I am close to calling this the best fried chicken I’ve had in Melbourne! Meanwhile, our mash was served with some bone marrow gravy. We found the gravy a little too powerful for us, a bit too sweet for me. You can’t go wrong with the mash though!
It’s only been open for a few days, so I think service can improve and become a little quicker as they get busier. But right now I am dreaming of that fried chicken.
The team behind Stray Neighbour, a new bar/eatery on Plenty Road were also hanging at the back and it’s definitely the next Preston spot on the list!
Dexter is located at 456 High St, Preston. Bookings can be made on (03) 9973 3577, menu above. They are open Wed-Sun 12-3pm and dinner 5pm-late.