29 Oct Hunter & Barrel, Ringwood
Opening right on time, and in conjunction with the grand reveal of Eastland’s redevelopment, is Hunter & Barrel – the newest venture from the Seagrass Boutique Hospitality Group, who are also responsible for other meat-focussed eateries including The Meat & Wine Co and Ribs & Burgers. Nestled within the new precinct of Eastland, Hunter & Barrel takes the basic concept of the ‘hunter’s way’, and transforms it into a modern and sophisticated bar and restaurant.
Smokers, a coal grill and a spit rotisserie pump out soups, slow-cooked meats, pies, and stews, whilst the bar supplies craft beverages, wines, and barrel-aged spirits and cocktails. There’s no denying that the menu is predominantly meat-based, but vegetarians don’t need to feel completely left out as there are a handful of meat-free options available.
We opened the night with The Chieftain – a rosemary fat-washed, rosemary and prosciutto infused Belvedere Vodka mixed with fresh watermelon. An intriguing refreshing and smooth combination of sweet and slightly savoury.
The amazingly juicy spicy fried corn with its green chilli salt were a treat. Packed full of flavour were the chilli garlic prawns with butter and lemon, and the mouth-watering chicken wings with hot & sweet sauce, which were also bursting with moisture.
Their expertise in meat is further showcased by the Hunter’s Feast – a platter of roasted beef rib, chicken, pork belly and sausages accompanied by a variety of sides and salads. We enjoyed coal roasted chicken with lemon and rosemary, crispy roasted pork belly with chilli sauce, slow-roasted beef rib with grilled onion chutney, cheese kranskies and spiced wagyu sausages. I particularly loved the tender beef rib, which tore away cleanly from the bone and was laced with hints of charred flavour.
Our selection of sides and salads included cast iron button mushrooms with garlic butter, a potato and watercress salad with black pepper mayo, radicchio salad with crispy onions, parmesan and balsamic, and last but certainly not least, the amazing grilled cauliflower with garlic sauce and toasted almonds.
Two versions of Negroni then appeared. One was a regular Negroni concocted with Settlers gin, sweet vermouth and campari. Their own version, the Solera Negroni, mixed barrel-aged Negroni with fresh Negroni to create a smoother, more complex drink, complete with an ice sphere.
We were pretty full by this point, but desserts were in order. Golden syrup dumplings were rich and hearty, and matched with the much-needed fresh pouring cream. Fresh out of the oven was a pan of roasted chocolate and marshmallow roast, scattered with broken biscuits perfect for dipping into that gooey goodness. Think S’mores, but with a truckload of marshmallows.
To me, the ‘hunter’s way’ inspires thoughts of celebrations over seasonal, rustic food and a warm, lively and jovial atmosphere. This was certainly captured in the design and decor of the restaurant, which features plenty of woods and overarching warm, dark tones. It was a hearty feast of delicious, perfectly-cooked meats and produce that I look forward to enjoying again.
Disclaimer: I was invited to Hunter & Barrel as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own and not influenced by them in any way
Hunter & Barrel
Shop R04, Eastland Shopping Centre
171-175 Maroondah Highway
Ringwood, VIC, 3134
(03) 9876 8388