After spending 20 years at two of New York’s Michelin-starred restaurants (PUBLIC and Bouley), chef Chris Terlikar has turned his refined culinary skills to the art of cooking smoked American cuisine. After the hit launch of Ike’s Rack Shack at The Beaufort, and his sell-out collaboration with Grub Van, Bluebonnet Barbecue’s Terlikar has settled down in a place of his own in Collingwood.

Set inside an 1886 heritage-listed building, Terlikar’s intimate new space comes with that nice lived-in feel. “We’ve got a live music license, so we’ll have music outside on weekends. It’ll be nice for people to have a boozy lunch, and listen to some music.”

Inside, the stripped-back brick walls and wooden communal tables give a rustic feel that’s softened by candlelight. Fairy lights in the courtyard and a leaf canopy add a cosy ambience to the space. You can feast in the privacy of the outdoor tables in the refurbished shed with an original Bluebonnet Barbecue cocktail, or eat at the bar to learn the bartender’s whiskey-pairing secrets.

Terlikar says cooking most of the meat in his smoke-machine-turned-meat-smoker is a challenge that’s worth the effort. “When you’ve got a gas smoker you can just set it and forget it, but with an off-set smoker it’s challenging. That’s what draws me to it.”

And from these smoky depths emerge house-made sausages, crispy lamb ribs and Terlikar’s signature dish: chopped brisket with apple kohlrabi, with barbeque sauce. Vegetarians needn’t avoid. The menu includes a vegan barbecue dish of a smoked green jackfruit, that, believe it or not, achieves a similar texture to pulled pork. Also, there are plenty of good vegetarian sides to share. And to finish on a sweet note, Terlikar has introduced New Orleans-style beignets (pronounced ben-yays), similar to mini doughnuts, served with smoked banana and salted caramel.

Bluebonnet Barbeque
187 Johnston Street, Collingwood
(03) 9972 1815

Wed 11am–4pm
Thu to Sat 11am–1am
Sun 11am–4pm