20 Jan Hotel Barkly, St Kilda
Hotel Barkly has been around since 1853, so it’s no surprise that it’s passed through multiple hands over years. The latest of these belong to Campbell and Belinda, who’ve brought a renovation and new menu with them.
Admittedly, I haven’t been here before so can’t comment much on its transformation, but I can say that the new space is modern and fresh. There’s plenty of wooden panelling, broken up by greenery and a light-coloured coat of paint. Though it looks quite different from the traditional pubs we’re used to seeing, it still retains its heart. You can play a game of Jenga while perched on a couch made of Sherrin Lyrebirds, play Big Buck on the arcade machine, or sit back, relax and enjoy a match on the big screen.
We begin with drinks – a Mandarita, a mandarin-flavoured margarita – is strong and refreshing. Wines, and of course beers, are available too.
Small plates include the juicy, saucy Wicked Wings with garlic aioli. They definitely pack a spicy punch. The Burnt Cauliflower is charred, but tender, and seasoned with spices, with an almost curry-like flavour to them. They’re a tad salty, but sweetness comes in with the cranberries, and tangy yoghurt lightens things up. So far, pretty solid.
The Aged Porterhouse Steak Sandwich contains thinly sliced beef with grilled bacon, curry ketchup, rocket, slaw and beetroot nestled between pumpkin bread sourced from Woodfrog Bakery in St Kilda. The bread is oiled, charred and crispy, and though the beef is a tad overdone for me, it’s a tasty sandwich. Waffle fries, which are fat, tasty and delicious, feature on the side.
One item I was particularly excited to try was the NT Croc Burger. The crocodile meat is marinated with white miso and ginger, and even though crocodile is a rather lean protein, the patty is delightfully moist. It’s paired with Asian slaw, kimchi ketchup, and roasted peanuts – a very fresh-tasting combination of ingredients that I would be more than happy to order again. It’s a healthier option than beef, and though probably not as robust in flavour, is something different and definitely not lacking in the taste department.
Hotel Barkly has a rooftop and underground level, which can also be utilised for functions, and the public bar is a comfortable place to hang out and get some grub. Pub classics sit alongside fresh new items on the menu, which should keep a big crowd satisfied. Be sure to order some waffle fries.
Disclaimer: I was invited to Hotel Barkly as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own and are based on my experience at the time
109 Barkly St
St Kilda, VIC, 3182
(03) 9525 3332