The sign outside Five Points Deli and Longhorn Saloon may still read “Mutti’s”, but the old German restaurant is history. After six months’ work, Will and Mick Balleau’s third venue has arrived, joining Chingón and Le Bon Ton.
Like Le Bon Ton, it’s large and multi-pronged. Downstairs, where the walls are covered with beaten copper and dulled gold, the Five Points Deli serves lunch until 4.30pm (it will be opening for breakfast soon, too), and then converts into a raw bar with displays packed with oysters, clams, fish and king-crab legs poking out from mounds of ice.
But traverse the grand, sunlit staircase and you’re in a different world. Longhorn Saloon is named in honour of a shady bar where the underage Balleaus tasted their first beers, and the fit out – rough-hewn timbers, naked bricks, wrought iron – reflects this, as does the rock‘n’roll soundtrack. “I think the atmosphere in that big room is going to bring back some memories,” Will says. The space doesn’t start kicking until 5pm, though patrons can head upstairs to eat whenever Five Points gets too busy.”
From next Tuesday, that could be a regular occurrence, as the deli’s long, counter-style kitchen will be used to host a $25 all-you-can-eat buffet every day. Look out for 5 & Dime bagels, omelettes, sausages, fruit, muesli, bottomless coffee and more.
Come lunchtime, the counter becomes a made-to-order sandwich bar, and you’d better be hungry. The pastrami sandwiches and Reubens are an absolute mission, with layer-after-layer of rich, house-smoked beef, Swiss cheese and condiments squashed between light or dark rye. Tip: attack the accompanying house-made chips and zingy pickle first, because otherwise they’ll probably get left over. For the less ambitious, a cheeseburger, salmon bagel, soup, salad or sweet pie might do the trick.
At night the freshness of the aforementioned raw bar takes the edge off the rest of the menu, which is overwhelmingly meat and carb-heavy. Chef Nick Stanton (ex-Nieuw Amsterdam) is on a wood-fired grill out back, firing six cuts of steak. The largest, a T-bone, weighs in at a whopping 1200 grams. The other options are potatoes done six ways, pasta or salad.
It’s almost Le Bon Ton 2.0 – the kind of place where you stop for one drink and end up staying all night, grazing courtesy of a kitchen that never seems to sleep. It probably helps that both spots are in relatively quiet and isolated parts of otherwise bustling suburbs.
“Our venues have always been destinations. We’ve never relied too much on being in a main street or high traffic area,” Will says. “We hope the food and drinks and the service and the atmosphere will mean people are willing to travel.”
Five Points Deli and Longhorn Saloon
118 Elgin Street, Carlton
(03) 9348 4794
Hours (Five Points)
Tue to Sun 11.30am‒4:30pm (opening for breakfast soon)
Hours (Longhorn Saloon)
Tue to Sun 5pm‒1am