Preston's Dexter team opens Cheek in Swanston Street, Melbourne

Brothers Sam and Tom Peasnell and Adam Goldblatt at their new restaurant Cheek in Swanston Street.
Brothers Sam and Tom Peasnell and Adam Goldblatt at their new restaurant Cheek in Swanston Street.  Photo: Eddie Jim

Cheek, from the team who brought you the hot meat doughnut and the pig's head bun, opens in Melbourne's CBD this week.

"It's a progression of what we've been doing at Dexter," says co-owner Sam Peasnell, referring to the slow-smoked Preston barbecue joint that opened in 2015. "But we've got some new toys so we're able to push it a bit further."

They've installed a charcoal grill and a massive dry-ageing fridge, which you can see from the restaurant. "We're going to be doing a lot more butchering and dry-ageing."

Dry-aged striploin tartare with wild fermented plum.
Dry-aged striploin tartare with wild fermented plum. 

Unlike at Dexter, which serves mostly pork, beef, lamb and chicken, seafood and duck are also on the menu at Cheek. Look out for a whole baby snapper served with a fragrant herby sauce, and half a roasted duck, aged for five days and topped with smoked hoisin and leek.

Design firm Pierce Widera was charged with converting what was once the three-level Sahara restaurant on Swanston Street into Cheek. It's accessed via a peach-coloured staircase and decked out with a zigzag concrete bar, concrete communal table, and distressed white brick walls. Eventually Peasnell, along with co-owners Tom Peasnell and Adam Goldblatt, will turn level two and the rooftop into Peaches bar. The trio also operates Takeaway Pizza in Preston.

The drinks list is designed for interesting drinking, with a range of bright, natural wines from producers including BK Wines, Arfion, Unkel and Pat Sullivan. A couple of beers are on tap with more in cans, and there's a bit of spice in the cocktails to balance out the big barbecue flavours.

Open Tue-Sat 5pm-late.

Level 1, 301 Swanston Street, Melbourne, cheek.melbourne