THE BIG SMOKE

The grill and the smoker are both work­ing over­time at this Amer­i­can-style bar­be­cue joint’s posh new city home

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Eat Out -

FANCY HANK’S: RE­VIEWED BY ME­GAN MILLER

HANK is fi­nally liv­ing up to his name, with fancy new per­ma­nent digs at the top end of town.

It’s a sexy room, one floor up, with leather booths and big win­dows that look out to the tree­tops over bustling Bourke St, and a mar­ble bar that re­sem­bles some­thing out of a speakeasy rather than a bar­be­cue joint.

But the jewel is the two-tonne, cus­tom-made smoker that was craned in to im­part low-and-slow good­ness to brisket, free-range chicken, sausage links, and pork ribs and shoul­der.

Un­like Fancy Hank’s for­mer home at the Mercat Cross Ho­tel, near the Queen Vic Mar­ket, there’s ta­ble ser­vice. While staffing was patchy (ei­ther hov­er­ing or MIA), the menu was am­ply de­ci­phered so you know your pit-roasted rutabaga (turnip) from your boudin (sausage).

The brisket was the smoker’s stand-out bounty, 200g of grain-fed, mar­ble-score 2 beef from north­ern Queens­land, cooked to just yield­ing with a feisty, black-pep­per crust.

Sides and snacks al­most steal the show, par­tic­u­larly mac ’n’ cheese aglow from a dust­ing of Chee­tos crumbs, as well as the shrimp cock­tail, pick­led prawns and rib­bons of fen­nel doused in a creamed-corn sauce, all un­der a lid of puffed-pork crackle.

But 2016’s late run­ner for most fun in a bun goes to Hank’s baloney sand­wich. Shav­ings of bologna – made by Fitzroy butcher Meat­smith and smoked in­house for six hours – land in high-piled folds be­tween sweet brioche toast with banana ketchup. Pretty damned good.

Want to swing sweeter still? Get the pie of the day with cream; ap­ple when we visited with lat­ticed pas­try.

Hank’s will get even closer to God for bar­be­cue fans with its new rooftop bar Good Heav­ens, which has just opened.

The smok­ing hot com­bi­na­tion of Amer­i­can-style bar­be­cue and Aus­tralian in­gre­di­ents re­ally de­liv­ers. No baloney.

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