Some days when they have the smoker going, you can smell the wood-fired aromas long before you enter The Meating Room.
Located just behind the popular Cooleman Court Shopping Centre in Weston, the bar/café/restaurant feels deeply entrenched in the community and the basement space they occupy.
Exposed concrete floors and ceilings adorned with milk crate lights above the bar set the scene, along with a large mural depicting the three owners. It is industrial and functional with a mix of table sizes and chairs; you can tell it is the kind of space that has seen in a lot of good times.
The masters of those good times are co-owners Robii Khalil, Hamish Walker and Phillip Sacksady, and they’ve just racked up their five-year anniversary at The Meating Room.
“From the get-go, the vision was to offer a selection of food choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner with quality coffee, craft beers on tap and a family-friendly environment all with a focus on meat that doesn’t break the bank,” Robii told Region Media.
Each owner brings their own set of skills and unique vision that has seen them flourish and weather the ups and downs of business ownership. Robii, a chef by trade, is a marvel in the kitchen while Phillip is a customer service wiz, and Hamish a magician with smoked meats and coffee.
Like a well-oiled machine from the beginning, just after a year of opening the trio expanded and added a second business to the mix – 1 on One Espresso – a café housed in the new Department of Finance building in Forrest.
Shortly after that, after the success of adding smoked meats as a special offer at The Meating Room, the team expanded again by purchasing the Bare Bones BBQ food truck to cater to special events, pop up markets, and festivals.
Our visit to The Meating Room was during a busy Thursday lunchtime rush when neighbouring office workers popped in to grab burgers and drinks while catching up. It also coincided with their once-a-month special evening ‘Texas Thursday’.
That means Hamish has the smoker going in the back ready to serve up a bevy of BBQ for dinner. It happens on the first Thursday of the month and the menu is ever-changing. Expect to see anything from cornbread to melt in your mouth brisket, pork belly, and ribs.
For our lunch, we gravitate to some bar classics to start: buffalo wings with a burger and fries. The buffalo wings have been perfectly cooked and expertly coated in just the right amount of sauce. The hit of vinegar and cayenne pepper is mellowed by the addition of melted butter added just before serving and the result is magnificent.
To follow, a crispy skin salmon showcases how well the kitchen team excels beyond bar food.
As with all local businesses, The Meating Room has had to make some adjustments due to COVID-19.
“Along with restrictions on how many patrons are allowed in at one time, we have changed our opening hours. We are closed on Mondays, open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday and breakfast on the weekend,” Robii explains.
“We are also taking the opportunity to reinvent the menu. Come spring there will be a fresh new offering along with a seasonal menu. We are excited about the planned changes.”
Another change the team has implemented is to their supply chain with a focus on supporting other small local businesses.
“The coffee being served is now Cosmorex, Underground Gin can be found behind the bar and we are in discussion with local beer and wine suppliers. We are so thankful for the local support during these hard times that we want to do all we can to give back and support local as well,” Robii says.
The Meating Room is located at 45 Liardet St, Weston. For bookings call 6288 6328. It’s currently closed on Mondays, but is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday and breakfast on the weekend.
* The food provided tasted was courtesy of the team at The Meating Room.