Now, I know that some of you are reading that headline and wondering, “What the heck is a poutine?!” Well, prepared to be enlightened by the only dish you’ll need this winter, folks. Poutine (no, not the lay-about emoji cat, that’s Pusheen) is a French-Canadian dish that is comprised of the holy trinity of all things warm and tasty:
1. Chips, the essential base to any great dish.
2. Gravy, usually chicken gravy.
3. Cheese. Well, raw milk cheese curds if you can find them—they were illegal in Australia up until recently.
These three ingredients are combined in one drool-worthy, piping-hot dish, perfect for these cold months when carb-loading is the only way to survive the Melbourne chill. But where can you get this incredible dish of culinary dreams? Some of Melbourne’s best bars and restaurants are serving up their own twist on poutine, ranging from the super-simple to fiery Sriracha-laced bowls of deliciousness. Here are our favourites who are first off the blocks of this new food trend…You’d better be hungry!
Hidden down Globe Alley, just off the city’s main Chinatown strip, Belleville serves up delicious poutine that’s perfect with a tankard of mulled cider or a pot of local beer. Going for the beer battered approach to chips, these guys usually top everything with a healthy portion of their house chicken gravy and a hit of spicy Sriracha sauce, making for poutine that definitely has a kick.
Not only is the food at Belleville great (they specialise in rotisserie chicken, which comes either brined or glazed in miso), the venue itself is tucked inside a disused warehouse, giving this bar a raw feel that’s perfectly complemented by the street art and plants that adorn the walls. With a kitchen that’s open until 1am every day of the week, it’s one of our top bars in Melbourne for poutine after-hours too. Belleville, we like your style.
Big Huey’s Diner
If you’re a fan of retro styling and a good, old-fashioned diner menu, then Big Huey is your man. The poutine here puts an Aussie spin on the Canadian favourite by including melted local cheese and a Dijon mustard gravy, making for a delicious dish that really comes into its own when paired with the Elvis burger, which consists of fried chicken in a bun with house pickles, cabbage slaw, bacon, banana and mango chutney, and, as if that wasn’t enough, a fried egg on top.
If the food doesn’t convince you, Big Huey’s Diner in South Melbourne comes complete with a jukebox, thick shakes and vintage neons on the walls too. Low-key diner-style poutine at its finest.
The Spotted Mallard
Unbeknown to most, Brunswick pub The Spotted Mallard is one of the best bars in Melbourne for getting your poutine fix. Serving both a vegetarian and meat-lovers version, the blackbean poutine draws on spicy Mexican flavours (think chipotle loaded fries), while the braised beef poutine comes with rump steak, gravy, cheddar and pickled carrots.
As well as serving top-notch poutine, The Spotted Mallard also has an epic events calendar, including everything from cult film screenings to live bands to locals’ trivia nights. A stellar night out with some quality gravy action to boot.
Leonards House Of Love
Leonards House of Love has quickly climbed up our list of favourite bars on the south-side. Run by the team behind The Sweetwater Inn (who doesn’t serve poutine as such but does turn out a mouth-watering bowl of chips, gravy and cheese…same thing, no?), Leonards twist on poutine is riffing off all the right notes. Combining chipotle bolognaise with cheese sauce and chopped spring onions, this is one loaded fry delight that’s an entire meal on its own.
If you haven’t been to Leonards House of Love yet, you’re missing out on a whole world of 70s ski-lodge chic. Wanna know what we’re talking about? Drop in for a tasty feed and it’ll all make sense!
Has all this talk of poutine got you hankering for some more awesome food action? Check out our list of Where To Get The Best American Food In Melbourne. Feeling the complete opposite? Check out 50 of Melbourne’s Best Thin Feeds for a health hit.
Image credit: GustoTV