Remembering my 2013 visit to Ribs & Burgers in Neutral Bay with reasonable fondness, I popped back in earlier this week for a dinner with a South African mate. He likes this spot because it tastes like home, but he was still surprised to find out it’s the entry-level outlet for the South African-run Seagrass Boutique Hospitality Group, who also own Meat & Wine Co. We’re all here for eight-hour slow cooked ribs which we try in two different varieties. The boys go for the Pork Baby Back Ribs ($34.90/large) with chips.
I hit up the Pork St Louis Ribs ($19.90) and received a free upsize to large, opting for the apple cabbage salad. This side salad combines chunky red cabbage, apple, pine nuts and herbs in a vinaigrette. We also order some Crispy Onion Rings ($5.90) on the side, which arrive with our meals, though the chips and salad are nowhere to be seen. While staff were friendly and rectified the error upon prompting, it would have been nicer to eat our whole meal together.
Overall I detected a big slump in quality – the pork baby back ribs were dry, with an over-sweet marinade. The pork St. Louis ribs fared slightly better because they’re a bit fattier coming from the belly side of the rib cage. The smokier marinade had a bit more vinegar in it, making it less sweet and more pleasant to eat.
The thinly battered onion rings were my meal highlight, and made for a great drinking snack against Young Henrys Newtowner ($9) beer. When the chips finally arrived we accompanied them with dipping sauces, which were almost universally terrible. The creamy Chimichurri ($2) got my worst sauce of the night award. Ranch ($2) wasn’t much better. The Chilli Sauce ($2) was tolerable, but there are plenty of better chilli sauces out there.
Next time I want ribs, I think I’ll skip Ribs & Burgers, which seems to have become the domain of average food and families with lots of young, noisy kids.
Ribs & Burgers
Shop 3, 19-25 Grosvenor Street, Neutral Bay
Ph: (02) 9904 5774