Mighty Mighty Cue & Brew

Natascha Mirosch
Mighty Mighty's 'urban cowboy' watches over the dining room.
Mighty Mighty's 'urban cowboy' watches over the dining room. Photo: Harrison Saragossi

Shop 6/7 100 McLachlan Street Fortitude Valley, QLD 4006

View map

Opening hours Monday-Sunday 12pm-12am
Features Bar
Prices Moderate (mains $20-$40)
Chef Adam Herbert
Phone 07 3666 0184

I fully expect to start getting salacious junk mail flooding my inbox shortly because I've just Googled "John Holmes". For those of you who didn't know, Holmes was an extraordinarily well-endowed porn star of the '70s and '80s and there is a rumour that he was the model for Mighty Mighty's "urban cowboy" character.

Whatever the truth behind the logo, what's undeniable is that there's a fair bit of testosterone knocking about here. You probably need to think twice about dining at Mighty Mighty if you're delicate of appetite, on a first date or a vegetarian because its raison d'etre is meat. Lots of meat in big portions that need to be pulled and gnawed off bones and will leave sweet sticky traces of sauce on your fingers and face.

Mighty Mighty bills itself as "cue and brew" but the decor certainly doesn't scream "steakhouse" or "urban barbecue" - or even "backyard barbecue" for that matter. There's not a remnant of rusticity in the functional faux wood floors, glossy tiles, concrete pillars and black cafe chairs. You might even mistake it for a modern cafe, bar the whiff of smoke that greets you as you enter. It's hickory smoke - penetrated into Southern style cuts that are then given a long, slow cook.

Burnt end hash with avocado and corn salsa.
Burnt end hash with avocado and corn salsa. Photo: Harrison Saragossi

You have to wonder what sort of home-made hooch these southerners could possibly have been drinking when they came up with the idiosyncratic names they gave their dishes. I'd heard of hush-puppies, succotash, grits and collard greens but needed further Google research to define what "burnt end hash" was (and yes, I'll be expecting drug related spam in my inbox too). Turns out, it's exactly as it sounds - the burnt (or rather more dried) end of a brisket, shredded, crumbed and deep fried. Good, but just a bit too oily in this case. Another starter, "Mighty Mighty hot wings", is a misnomer as far as I'm concerned - I'm not a chilli fiend by any means, but they were certainly not what I'd call hot. Very satisfying nevertheless, tender and moist under their lightly spiced batter.

The signature dish of slow-roasted cola lamb ribs come off the bone easily and are enough for two. The accompanying hush-puppies' soft potato interior could do with a tweaking of the seasoning but are livened up with a dab of peach relish that cuts a swathe through the rich, smoky meatiness of the ribs.

The other (non-burnt end) bit of brisket initially looks like it might be dry, but the molasses-mopped meat pulls away in satisfying tender shreds with a potato and apple salad providing a lip-service serve of fruit 'n' veg. There is also a crunchy pickled cucumber for acidity.

Slow-roasted cola lamb ribs with hush-puppies and peach relish.
Slow-roasted cola lamb ribs with hush-puppies and peach relish. Photo: Harrison Saragossi

If we'd had a third or fourth person present, I would have not so gently persuaded them to have the pulled pork collar butt with popped corn bread, caramelised maple butter, grits, adobo and cider vinegar ketchup because it sounds so good. Or perhaps cold-smoked duck jambalaya with baked rice and fried peppers.

It's pleasing to see the commitment to America carrying through to the drinks list with a nice little collection of both red and white wine, American whiskey and a 50/50 split of American and Australian craft beer.

Desserts keep the calorie count climbing, with American classics like key lime pie, whoopie pie and apple pecan pie, as well as more modern takes such as a smoked chocolate pie and a s'more ice-cream sundae. Sour cherry pie is actually a cherry crumble and was pleasantly sour contrasted with a doughnut ice-cream - good but not quite what we were expecting.

Mighty Mighty definitely requires a return visit. There are a lot of appealing dishes on the menu and it would be nice to have the option of smaller portions so you could try more. But I guess that's against the whole "bigger is better" ethos isn't it?