The guys behind Cheek like the term ‘non-traditional meatery’, mostly because they don’t like being limited in any way.
With BBQ joint, Dexter and no-fuss Takeaway Pizza already under their belts, the unconventional and fusion-style menu isn’t really surprising. They just like having fun with flavours and cooking techniques.
The co-owners and rockstars are Adam Goldblatt, Tom Peasnell and Sam Peasnell. Their Preston venue, Dexter, is already well-known for pushing boundaries with meat and flavour profiles (if you haven't tried the meat doughnuts, get on it). That no-rules approach to cooking hasn’t changed. Another thing the two eateries have in common? Meat is always central.
“I guess all our ideas start with the meat, but we’ll borrow cooking techniques from anywhere," says Sam. "You’ll see on the menu we have a lot of Asian influences, we use a lot of Mexican chillies and we use a lot of French cooking techniques."
Their non-restrictive approach to meat is probably best shown in the Five-Day Half Duck—taking Peking Duck and making it “Dexter-fied”. Yeah, it’s a word now.
“It’s quite a striking dish," says Sam. "We’re doing the whole process —the five days, the hanging, the rendering and we’re pumping them full of air so that fat can render out and not touch the skin. We’re also barbecuing them, so making them more American.”
The duck here is as meaty as you’ll ever see it. There’s hoisin, so you still get the Peking duck twang, but you know it’s different.
Cheek is also rocking some serious vegetarian options as well, which are set to keep expanding.
“Even with our vegetarian items, we’re still trying to accentuate those umami flavours and those meaty characteristics. We’re really proud of those options”.
Even devout meat-eaters will want to inhale veggie offerings like battered sweet n’ sour cauliflower with a miso ranch (think veggie-style popcorn chicken) and the impossibly rich and meaty sweet and sour eggplant, served with flatbread.
Wine and cocktails are also a priority here, with a focus on un-sulphured and natural wines...for no other reason than they’ve found it just works better with the meat.
We suggest trying the Kult Klassic. It's bright pink and has vodka, sloe gin, raspberry and yakult—a typical Korean cocktail addition we're told.
Keep a look-out for the upcoming American-style diner and rooftop bar opening soon above Cheek. We think they’re set to become a one-stop shop for a good day of eating and drinking in the CBD.
Image credit: Annika Kafcaloudis