Bring on the meat sweats – Smokey Moo opens at Gasworks Plaza
Yesterday, Monday June 15, a curious smoky smell starting wafting across Gasworks Plaza. Those with sharp olfactory sensors will have been able to make out notes of macadamia, black wattle, hickory and pecan – and also, perhaps, the smell of lovingly smoked meat. The heady aroma was emanating from the kitchen of Smokey Moo – a beloved low-n-slow barbecue concept that has just opened in Newstead after two years across the river in East Brisbane. After some pandemic-related delays, Smokey Moo is cooking up a storm – serving mouth-watering hunks of barbecued beef and satisfying sides, while also debuting a new range of cocktails to wash it all down.
Shalom Bitton – the brains behind barbecue concept Smokey Moo – believes that the cuisine is most enjoyable when shared. It should be a communal, sit-down dining experience – something that people can gather around and enjoy together leisurely. That being said, space limitations at Smokey Moo’s first location in East Brisbane prevented large numbers of patrons from dining in, and the concept spent two years building a fanatical following through takeaway orders out of necessity. The approach worked, though – at its busiest, Smokey Moo was churning upwards of half a tonne of barbecued meat per week. When the lease ended at the cosy East Brisbane spot, Shalom and his wife Wensley found themselves at a crossroads – would they move on to another project or endeavour to take Smokey Moo to the next level? The couple opted for the latter, electing to go big with a venue that could make good on Shalom’s desire to serve barbecue in the best environment possible. Wensley reached out to the team behind Gazworks Plaza’s latest expansion to enquire about securing one of the empty lots for Smokey Moo 2.0, managing to snag a spacious corner location that sits a stone’s throw from The Defiant Duck. The team had the keys by February and immediately got stuck into a fit-out process that would see the restaurant open in late-March. As you can probably predict, the coronavirus pandemic forced Shalom and Wensley to pump the brakes on the project just before opening. After two-and-a-half months of patience, Smokey Moo finally opened to the public on Monday June 15 – offering up a lot more elbow room for meat carving, drink clinking and honest hospitality.
Those that frequented Smokey Moo in East Brisbane will notice that there is considerably more space. The venue boasts seating for approximately 110 patrons at full capacity (dine-in numbers are still reduced due to social-distancing restrictions), with a mix of single tables and large communal dining available inside or outside in the alfresco area, plus a small seating area at the bar. Shalom and Wensley worked with Clui Design on the venue’s look and fit-out, combining input on an aesthetic imbued with a rustic, warm and vintage feel achieved using brick and timber as the two foundational elements of the interior palette. Bi-fold windows stretch across the facade, while dominating the rear wall is Shalom’s kitchen playground – featuring an imported smoker (brought across from East Brisbane), some gleaming new equipment and a stone-topped bench where guests can witness Shalom expertly slice and prepare slabs of freshly smoked meat.
The food and drink
Speaking of meat, fans of Smokey Moo’s style of barbecue will be pleased to know Shalom has brought across the restaurant’s entire menu, only adding a few small additions here and there. Shalom sources his farm-fresh protein from Rangeland Quality Meats, smoking various cuts using a combination of wood including macadamia chips and black wattle, finishing with hickory and pecan for a robust taste. As for the menu options, serious carnivores can order their choice of meat (brisket, pastrami, beef cheek or beef rib) by weight (250 g, 500 g or 1 kg), add it to a platter (which comes with jus and your choice of fries, coleslaw or cob salad) or add it to a sandwich. Smokey Moo’s signature dishes are available too, including The Dirty Dozen (all four meats served with fries topped with caramelised onion, three cheeses and two sauces), Idaho potatoes (fried potato skins filled with creamed corn, accompanied by meat) and a special cob salad that comes served with, you guessed it, meat! If you can fit it in, Smokey Moo’s desserts such as New York-style baked cheesecake, Cherry Ripe slice and three-layer chocolate mousse help finish things on a sweet note. For the first time, Smokey Moo is licensed to sell alcohol and the debut drinks menu is stacked. Now meat lovers can pair their platter with an ice-cold beer (Smokey Moo stocks three kinds of Moo Brew – how’s that for brand alignment?), a glass of sparkling, red, white or rosé wine (the selection is 80-percent Australian) and a selection of nine cocktails including the Smokey Old Fashioned (rye whisky, bitters, sugar, lemon, maraschino cherry and smoke), Boot Shaker (Sailor Jerry rum, ginger beer, lime, mint, Tabasco and chilli flower) and the Dirty Harry (vodka, lemon-lime and rosemary simple syrup, lemon juice and soda). Moving forward, Shalom is eager to to source smaller quantities of different cuts (tri tip, rump cap or oyster blade, for example) for limited-run specials.
Smokey Moo is now open. For contact details and opening hours, head to the Stumble Guide.
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