I can’t believe how far the Maltese food scene has come over the last few years. It’s a sentiment I keep sharing over and over, but one that I can’t emphasise enough. It’s not just that food has become more accessible, but chefs are starting to take real risks with the food they prepare that’s nothing short of glorious, and Fat Louie’s in Paceville is a perfect example of this. In their own words:
Fat Louie’s is two brothers’ bastardized Franco Americana vision, Texan smoke house meets bistro Lyonaisse, a nod to nose-to-tail eating, from beef and pork to mackerel, served up with a cheeky wine list, serious spirits and playful electronic music. Unassuming, unpretentious, with diligently sourced fare, always humbly plated.
With a platter like this you’ve got to start somewhere, so let’s get cracking with a gorgeous smoked brisket. To be perfectly honest I wasn’t all that in love with it when I tried it as an entrée. It’s a nice enough piece of meat, but the fat content is on the high side for my tastes. Taken in smaller quantities as part of a platter though?
It’s a whole other story. This cut of meat is a tougher cut than usual and consists of a fair amount of muscle tissue, making it a little harder to properly cook and tenderize, especially to this extent. Every bite is soft, warm, and fatty with a nice salty
As far as this platter’s concerned, it’s a good entry point. What next?
Ah, pork ribs, the cut of meat here absolutely everybody’s familiar with. These ribs are slathered in BBQ sauce making them as messy as you’d expect on paper, but ultimately a really clean bite. The bone really just pulls away from the meat with one gentle tug, nice and clean. These aren’t your standard rack of ribs, they’re elevated to all new levels of flavour, juiciness, and tenderness.
The sauce they’re slathered in is also utterly fantastic. It’s a mild, tangy bbq sauce that complements the pork perfectly. It’s a good thing to note that while there’s a lot of sauce it’s not a gallon – these ribs are messy, but you don’t need to wear a hazmat suit to keep it off your clothes!
This is my new favourite cut of bacon, ever. When you think of bacon you think of a paper-thin strip that’s fried to a crisp in its own grease or limp and oily beside your sausages and eggs on a plate of full English. Both versions are great, of course, but they’re the Kia to Fat Louie’s thick cut bacon Maybach.
When bacon is three-quarters of an inch thick you’ve got all of the flavour and so much more of the juice and texture. The thick cut bacon is soft, pretty similar to gammon, and the fat is so soft you can spread it on a toasted baguette.
And the second cut of beef in this platter is a wonderfully cooked Denver steak, cut into inch wide strips for sharing. It’s a great steak, truly, cooked perfectly medium rare. It’s juicy and so tender you can split it with a spoon. It truly melts on the tongue!
The salsa verde also comes into its own here. The other sauces work just fine, but the salsa verde gives the steak a refreshing twist that serves as a bit of a palette cleanser ahead of the beef rib.
Ah, the Big Daddy. The Big Kahuna. The Heart of the Matter, the core concept…
It might seem like I’m babbling and buying myself time because at this point in the meal you truly will be. The beef rib is a giant chunk of meat to dig through, bone aside, and it’s definitely the star of this platter. The smoking process means the meat essentially cooks in its own fat and the result is the most tender, juicy, and delicious beef rib on the island. This is genuinely so tender you can just pull the not-exactly-tiny bone right out of it with a gentle tug, and it comes out utterly clean. Just have a look!
The beef rib is, ultimately, a very heavy meal on its own, and it’s the only thing in this platter that I genuinely wish I could share with more people. As the culmination of this platter the juicy beef sinks heavy in your stomach, and as we picked it clean the three of us leaned back, rested our hands on our bulging stomachs and let out a soft satisfied moan.
Sure, this is a feature on a single dish from Fat Louie’s in Paceville, but it genuinely touches base on all of Fat Louie’s key dishes. The platter may be a small taste of everything, but it’s not a cruel taste that lingers.
Next time you’re at Fat Louie’s as a group (no less than three, unless you’re Zach) you absolutely should try the Fat Louie’s Meat Platter, and I do suggest you eat in the same order we did!