This week, in Melbourne's late-night supper files: Butcher's Diner, the new 24-hour temple of butchery porn, burgers and tinnies from the European crew.
The name is a small red herring. Simon Poole, the European Group's long-time butcher and smallgoods maker, will be slicing and dicing carcasses in a glassed-in boning room to the rear, but cuts won't be for sale, they're destined for the restaurants only. Still, it should make for good thematic viewing for chef Steve Lichter's diner out front.
The pitch, unsurprisingly, is meaty. The breakfast hours deliver a house-made blood sausage and devilled egg sandwich in a bun and steak and eggs. But there's also American-style vegan hash (which you can add sausage to), filter coffee for $2.50, tea buns and cinnamon scrolls.
The lunch menu features a daily-changing burger made with a mix of full and half blood Robbin's Island wagyu. There are reubens and a Japanese fried chicken sambo, and for full futuristic points there will be a vending machine, stocked twice daily, and dispensing Israeli cous cous and nicoise salads for those on the run.
There's a small Japanese sensibility throughout. Offal yakitori of duck hearts and ox tongue are going on their binchotan grill. Every night there will be one dry-aged steak with sides. Booze-wise it's an all-tinnie, all-craft beer list, mostly from local micro-brewers, plus a tight selection of wines by the half bottle in the same vein.
As with all Con Christopoulos venues, design has been a major factor. The double-storey premises at 10 Bourke Street will feature a huge custom communal table downstairs. Upstairs, which has a small terrace, will become a function space. Poole worked at Meatmother years ago, and there will be a smoker to do short ribs and pulled pork. For big groups they might also serve the likes of whole suckling pigs.
There's never been a better time to not go to bed.
Butcher's Diner is now open daily, 24 hours, at 10 Bourke Street, Melbourne. butchersdiner.com, 03 9639 732