Bluebonnet opens in Melbourne

Cult Melbourne BBQ team Bluebonnet finally finds a permanent home in Brunswick East. The restaurant opened on the 27th of August.

After years of short-term pop-ups and temporary leases, Bluebonnet brings barbecue to Brunswick East at their new permanent home at 124-126 Lygon Street from August 27th. The original team from 2014 (Pitmaster Chris Terlikar, Bar Manager Nate White and Sous Chef Eric Baird) have reunited and found an impressive new site. Here they are serving up their signature low 'n' slow barbecued meats, thoughtfully crafted but totally “smashable” cocktails and, of course, plenty of good times.

The Bluebonnet menu remains a celebration of Texas-style barbecue, where the only ingredients added to the meat are salt, pepper and smoke – a carefully chosen mix of ironbark and oak woods elevate the meaty flavours. Having moved away from a career in Michelin starred restaurants, owner Chris’ love for barbecue is obvious. At Bluebonnet, his expertly smoked meats is ordered by weight, along with left-of-field takes on traditional side dishes that riff on multicultural culinary influences, Melbourne style. Sides will include black garlic cornbread, fried green tomatoes on a bed of whipped goat’s fetta and their ever-popular Brussels sprouts. Bluebonnet’s celebrated beef brisket remains the star of the show, but the menu extends to offer a wider range of cuts like pork ribs and pulled pork. Porter-braised beef cheeks, crispy lamb ribs and reverse-seared tomahawk steaks also make an appearance and a separate bar menu is available for the late-night crowd.

At Bluebonnet, dishes are designed to be shared, with everything placed in the middle of the table and plenty of napkins at the ready. This is not dainty dining – it’s where you can get loose and enjoy the truly visceral experience that only good barbecue can deliver. While dining may be laid-back, it is the result of careful curation, headed by venue manager Daniel Last’s one golden rule; ‘thoughtfulness and consideration in every detail’.

Nate’s cocktail selection has also been carefully considered, with even the most basic of beverages being elevated to a new level. The Bluebonnet cocktail list will consist of three sections; lighter signature cocktails to balance out the meaty menu, stalwart classics and a rotating roster of seasonal-produce-driven cocktails. 10 beer taps serve a variety of reliable Victorian favourites and small batch seasonal brews (including gluten-free options). A few more taps will be installed at a later date, serving pre-made cocktails.

The venue’s fit-out has been designed by the Bluebonnet team in collaboration with 4x2 Builders. It is a huge space that has been thoughtfully divided into separate zones. The space is united under the vaulted corrugated iron roof, which sets the scene and brings the feel of an old country barn – perfect for enjoying some great barbecue. The reclaimed railway sleeper-clad bar echoes the rustic sentiment.

Tall and commanding of attention, the bar overlooks fully retractable windows and on-street seating, adding energy and good vibes during the warmer months. Beyond the brick archway to the rear is a semi-private dining room. Counter-top dining with 10 seats serve as a front row seat to all the action of the kitchen. Finally, to top it all off, a separate pool room divides the bar and kitchen between floor to ceiling windows of glass and steel.