Cheek is the third business from Adam Goldblatt and brothers Tom and Sam Peasnell, after Dexter, an unconventional “meatery” in Preston, and late-night bar Takeaway Pizza across the road.

Nominally it’s another barbeque restaurant, but the menu is a radical departure from Dexter’s little enamel trays of American-style barbequed meats. Or any menu in this space, for that matter.

You might start with moreish prawn crackers dusted with barbeque seasoning; a bowl of nugget-y fried cauliflower slathered in miso ranch; or Cheek’s take on empanadas, with mapo tofu and pork cheek.

Later it’s onto the meat. Pork chops and boneless loins are left to hang and develop a “funky, cheesy” flavour in an illuminated dry-ageing cabinet that acts as a wall between the kitchen and the 60-seat restaurant, before being cooked to order in a Josper charcoal oven (rather than smoked for hours and hours before service). That dry-ageing cabinet also holds rib-eye steaks from one of Australia’s best beef producers, O’Connor. And ducks, which the kitchen ages for a week and serves by the half with smoked hoisin sauce.

Yeah, you’re not in Kansas – or Preston – anymore. That much might be apparent before the menus appear, though. A single fluorescent shoots the full length of the ceiling like a laser, throwing light on raw concrete walls for a kind of futuristic brutalist beauty. Running alongside it, a wall of illuminated wine bottles acts like vivid wallpaper. Andrew Barry (ex-Gingerboy) is largely responsible for the list, which is quirky without being overly challenging. Expect young, bright bottles from Jamsheed, Manon, Patrick Sullivan, Good Intentions, Travis Tausend and Sigurd.

Updated: January 7th, 2019

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