22 Apr The North Melbourne Hotel, North Melbourne
The North Melbourne Hotel is the latest venture from Sandra and José De Oliveira. They’ve plenty of experience as publicans over the last 30 years, with experience turning around and managing venues including Sir Robert Peel, Commercial Club Hotel, Prahan Hotel, Palace Hotel, and Bouzy Rouge.
The elaborate decor is full of marble and ornate decorations. The fore-section features an eye-catching and pearlescent shell installation hanging from the ceiling; a trio of glittery bull heads watch over the bar. Large mirrors, statues and pot plants fill the spaces. It’s like being transported into another world.
The drinks list consists of carefully selected Australian and international wines from France, Italy and Portugal, as well as local beers.
The menu is Modern European. We begin with some beef empanada, the crusts made with polenta and vegetable stock instead of the common white flour-based empanada. The finer crumb of the dough is still crispy, but has a slight bounciness and unique colour and flavour.
A wedge of panko-crumbed Gippsland brie is accompanied by fig jam made in house, toasted walnuts and sourdough. Crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside, this treat was a delight. My first time sampling crumbed brie, and it definitely won’t be my last.
Chicken still isn’t something we’d normally order when eating out, particularly when it comes to roast chicken, but I’m glad we tried it today. The Slow Roasted Chicken pieces come with crispy skin. Diced avocado, tomato and coriander salsa provides lift and freshness. We have the House Salad on the side. The acidity of the vinegar dressing and crispy shallots sprinkled on top of the salad, match well with the chicken. The shallots are a great combination with the chicken’s sauce, which tastes soy-based with a complementary tang.
We end our meal with the Flourless Chocolate Pudding, a decadent dessert covered with a layer of rich chocolate ganache, and hazelnut praline gelato on the side. The pudding is moist and rich, but surprisingly not too sweet either. Easily one of the best I’ve had.
When we first walked in to the transformed North Melbourne Hotel, we were blown away by the glamorous interior, then were impressed by the quality of the food. It’s only been around for about 8 months, but we hope it will stay for a long time.