Ribs and Burgers has recently opened another store in Woollongabba, at the base of a new residential development. It is the first tenant there to open its doors for business in Trafalgar Lane, launching just a couple of days ago. Their first Queensland store in James Street has done well, and garnered itself a reputation for very tasty meats. We were thrilled to receive an invite to a dining event to celebrate their new location.
The complex is easy to get to, just across from the Gabba. Finding the restaurant itself took a bit of wandering, as there isn’t much signage up in the laneway yet. Though most people will probably walk into the laneway from the Stanley Street side, the restaurant is actually at the other end, where Trafalgar Lane meets Trafalgar Street.
It was prettily decked out with a balloon arch, and towers of blue balloons both outside and inside. Without the bright balloons, it has rather classic bistro decor. It has warm lighting, cream walls, and sections of wood panelling. There are black and white pictures of butchers in their aprons on the walls, as a reminder of the pride they take in the preparation of their meat. Meat grinders are also used as decorations along the booth seats.
Seating options range from booth seats, to counter seats, to smaller tables usually seating two that can be joined up to make longer communal ones. There is seating both in the restaurant, and outside it in the covered laneway area. It was air conditioned to a comfortable temperature, and upbeat pop music played in the background at a comfortable volume.
The open kitchen runs along much of the length of the restaurant, so you can peer over and see your food being prepared. It is well-ventilated enough that despite all the grilling and frying going on, food odours didn’t escape to the dining area.
Their passion for the food they serve was clearly evident, as we were told about their basting sauces, and Aunty Joan’s pink sauce, that only two people know the recipe to. We were told about the care that goes into the preparation of the meat, the ribs that are cooked for eight hours, the burgers are crafted so that all the ingredients go together for the best eating, and the belief in hospitality, and food and people getting together going together (which I also believe in).
Then the food began to appear.
Chicken wings appeared first, or Chook wings, as they are listed on the menu. They had a nicely golden brown skin that was a little crisp. The meat underneath was still tender. They were served with a ranch dip that was creamy and a little tangy, as well as a smoky barbeque sauce for a different flavour.
They were soon followed by thick-cut chips. Famous chips, they are called on the menu, and they were indeed very good ones. Proper crunch on the outside, hot, and not oily. They were served with a jalapeno chickpea dip, that was essentially a hummus with a spicy finish. The chickpea dip had a nice, thick consistency, like a proper puree, and was a different from usual accompaniment for the chips.
We were also given a bowl of sweet potato fries, and aioli on the side. These were also nicely done, with a bit of crunch on the outside, and again a thick enough cut that the soft texture of the sweet potato could be appreciated in contrast. The sweet potatoes used for the fries were ripe, so they had a pleasant sweetness. Much better than a certain other burger outlet that seems to always burn the sweet potato fries.
After the entrees, we were taken on a little (and quite short) walk to the kitchen, so we could see the burgers being put together, patties being grilled over the fire, ribs roasting away, and other components being stacked on. It was an orderly and efficient process, and they quickly turned out a formidable row of burgers. They have probably trained to deal with a lunch or dinner rush. The lineup of burgers certainly looked good, standing tall with the bread buns round and golden brown on the outside, and a scattering of black and white sesame seeds.
We were then ushered back to our tables to receive the burgers we had ordered (each had a choice of one from the menu). From the list, we had picked the Apple Lamb Burger, which was a special that had recently been addd to the menu (not on the menu elsewhere), and had contemplated getting the other special, the Short-Rib Burger, but decided against it as we had been forewarned that we would be served ribs later as well. We ended up choosing The Aussie for our other burger.
The Apple Lamb Burger came with lamb patty green apple, rocket, onion, blue cheese, mayonnaise, and aioli. The meat patty was juicy, and generously thick. The sauce was plentiful and creamy, but only had a very mild blue cheese flavour. I was expecting a bolder, pungent taste, but it was barely discernible. Perhaps they had toned it down for more general appeal, but it seemed like a waste when the blue cheese component was specifically listed, and really why we ordered it. It was also somewhat unevently distributed, having been slopped over just one side of the burger. Call it being picky, but Fergburger would never do that (still my gold standard for the best burgers ever), and if you’re going to claim that you’re crafting your burgers for the eating, then things like even layout of ingredients matter. There was a bit of crunch from the apple slices, but there wasn’t really enough to impart sweetness or make a discernable flavour difference.
The Aussie Burger had beef patty, beetroot, pineapple, swiss cheese, bacon, fried egg, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and barbeque and Aunty Joan’s pink sauce. This was a much tastier burger. Again, the meat patty was juicy and cooked nicely. There was plenty of flavour from the beetroot, bacon, and pineapple. It was cheesy and saucy, and somewhat messy to eat, but sometimes you just have to get messy with a good burger.
Finally, and definitely not least, came the ribs. They are called Ribs and Burgers, and Ribs does come first in the name for good reason. To the table came a glistening tray of ribs. There was a rack of the beef ribs, a rack of the St Louis pork ribs, and a rack of the lamb ribs. They were accompanied by a couple of bowls of salad. For balance.
The beef ribs were tender, and the outside was caramelised, with a bit of char at the edges. The barbeque basting sauce gave it sweet, slightly tangy, and smoky flavours. The St Louis pork ribs were also basted in a sauce that imparted a bit of sweetness, and again it had a smoky aroma. The lamb ribs had a thicker cut of meat still on them, but were still tender. They had a lemon and herb basting sauce on them, so had a more citrusy flavour. Notably, the ribs all tasted different, and the sauces had a subtle sweetness rather than being just a sugary glaze.
We were certainly well looked after at the event. Staff were friendly, enthusiastic, and helpful. It was an event presented to show people their best, and I think it worked well.
Ribs and Burgers Woolloongabba showed us a great time, and if that was a fair representation of what they aim to bring to all their patrons, then it bodes well. The dishes were well-executed, apart from the lamb burger needing more punch, and the servings were a good size. It seems like a good place for group meals, so you can try a bit of a lot of things.
Price point: Entrees $6 to $12.50. Burgers $11 to $18.50 (ours would have been about $16). Ribs $17 to $19 for half a rack, $24 to $35 for a full rack.
Value: Pretty good.
Address: Shop 7, 855 Stanley Street, Woolloongabba
Website: Ribs and Burgers