A talented trio of energetic young hospo pros, whose collective CV drops names like Three Bags Full, MoVida, Chin Chin and Auction Rooms, has just taken a self-assured leap into deepest, darkest Preston to launch Dexter, a smart new space with a "meat first" philosophy and a no-rules approach to slow smoked barbecue.
Chef Tom Peasnell (recently of cult London barbecue joint, Pitt Cue Co) and his mate, Adam Goldblatt (ex-Homeslice, London) have teamed up with Tom's brother Sam (ex-FOH manager at Three Bags Full) to bring the concept to what they see as a rapidly expanding and receptive local market.
While paying homage to the traditions of southern-style slow smoked meats, the boys have decided to chuck out the rule book and take a few detours, which means you'll find things like kimchi, sriracha and whipped butters thrown into the mix – to positive effect.
Highlights include the pig's head croquette and pickled pineapple bun, caramel-basted beef short rib served with smoked dripping gravy, and the hot meat doughnuts, which see delightfully fluffy batter stuffed with flavoursome burnt brisket ends, then deep-fried and dusted with paprika and sugar. In a word: compulsory.
As well as bar snacks and substantial meals, the menu covers quick lunches, takeaway, kids' and set-course dining.
It's backed by a smart little drinks list that offers wine, cocktails and Hawkers craft beers on tap, as well as what the boys refer to as "the ultimate condiment": the Pickle Back – a bracing shot of house-made pickle juice and Maker's Mark bourbon.
Open Wed-Sun noon-3pm & 5pm-late.
456 High Street, Preston, 9973 3577, dexter.melbourne