Gothic overtones and dead meat - that pretty much sums up MeatMaiden. Located far below the daylight dwelling office folk, our clanging footsteps on the metal staircase echo off the shiny white tiles as we made our way past the hidden sanctum that is MeatMaiden.
A moody den of darkened booths, a display of carrion and, to liven up the atmosphere, pretty young waitresses awaiting your order.
Ensconced in our booth, the four of us decided to go for the score 6 wagyu. With a minimum order of 900 grams (each 100 gram is $12), we ordered our 1.1kgs of wagyu to be served medium rare, which the waitress noted was the way they served it here. That was the closest we ever came to the wagyu.
This was about 500gms of brisket - the other 600gms was on another tray.
What came instead was 1.1kgs of brisket. It was funny because we were so hyped up about having the wagyu that we were all puzzled about the dish that was presented. Mr A and I remarked that it didn't look like wagyu (none of the pockets of translucent fatty goodness); within two bites, Mr G commented that it tasted like pork; Mr P said that for something was supposed to be medium rare, this was pretty much well cooked; and I said that it tasted of brisket. Despite all the doubts, we didn't question or ask the staff whether we were served the wrong thing - because the waitress had confirmed our order at the time.
Despite being bummed that we didn't get what we ordered (clearly the waitress got the order wrong, as our bill said 1.1kgs of brisket at $10 per 100gms), the brisket was tasty. Thin but large slices of very tender beef that had a very earthy-bbq smoky flavour. On the outside was a pepper based rub. The meat was tender and there was a nice amount of melt-in-your-mouth layer of fat on top to keep things juicy. This was easily the best brisket I've ever have had. We also had fun trying out the housemade condiments - chilli sauce, BBQ sauce and seeded mustard (all of them were very nice) with the meat.
Ignoring all pretenses of being healthy, we loaded up on two carb-based sides (you don't make friends with salad) - chips, which were nicely crispy and...
...mash and gravy, which was heavenly as it was creamy, rich and smooth.
I also got a serve of housemade lemonade, which was nicely tart and not too sweet.
Food – 7.5
Ambiance – 7
Service – 6.5
Price - 7
The biggest let down was the waitress getting our order wrong. The good points are that the meat is tasty, as were the sides, and you definitely leave feeling full.
I don't have anything against MeatMaiden but I'm not sure that I'd go back in a hurry. Sure, its kitschy, it's moody and it's fun to discover something different but I'm not sure this place lends itself to repeat visits (at least for me). The place captures the soulless, nihilistic vibe quite well and, frankly, if I'm going for a nice steak, I prefer to eat in surroundings that are more in line with my bourgeois sensibilities.
Basement, 195 Lt Collins St
Telephone: 9078 7747