Category Archives: Pub

Hofbrauhaus, Squire’s Loft, The Imperial Hotel

This post covers 3 separate “White” dinners that took place sometime over winter in the CBD. There’s hearty German fare, bloody Aussie steaks and gargantuan portions of chicken parmagianas.

Hofbrauhaus
18-24 Market Lane
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9663 3361
Hofbräuhaus on Urbanspoon

IMG_4815

Having left my previous workplace half a year ago, I still try and keep in touch with my ex-colleagues. Fakebooo, without a doubt, is one of them. Dinner was arranged for a small group at Hofbrauhas one evening but in the end, it was just Fakebooo, Roen and myself that night.

IMG_4806
(Left) Arcobräu Zwicklbier $7.50
(Middle) Arcobräu Weissbier $12.00
(Right) HB Schwarze Weisse $7.50  

The 2 boys had just knocked off and had worked up an appetite. Roen has a reputation that puts even Fakebooo’s bottomless pit of a stomach to shame and was keen to get started with dinner. A round of beers was ordered, with him having the largest serve. I really liked my Zwicklebier; it was light, slightly fruity, and went down smoothly.

IMG_4817
HB Platte – HB sharring platter with a selection of pork knuckle, sausages, shnitzels, sauerkraut, red cabbage, mashed potatoes, potato dumplings and beer jus – $89 for 2 persons

It was an undisputed decision to get the HB platter. It had almost every main on the menu in it, and allowed us to try, well, almost every main in the menu. We thought we would make the smart move by ordering a platter for 2 (to share amongst 3) and add a couple of entrées alongside. Roen was interested in the pretzels and Fakebooo had his eye on the goulash.

IMG_4809
Goulash suppe – spicy rich beef stew soup, served with Bavarian bread roll $12.50

The restaurant sticks close to its German heritage, with female staff dressed in dirndl, complete with pleated pigtails and the boys in lederhosen. There’s some German accents going on (I think) and the fit out is slightly medieval but not to the point of tacky.

IMG_4816
Brezel – freshly baked Bavarian pretzel served with butter $4.50

Our conversation came to an abrupt halt when the platter was set down before us. It was jaw-droppingly enormous and surely enough for at least four! The food was of decent quality and I particularly liked the chewy sweet pretzel and the braised red cabbage. The goulash, while slightly on the salty side, had a deep aroma of smoked paprika and tomato. It made an excellent comforting wintry dish.

IMG_4811IMG_4812

Dinner at Hofbrauhaus was a great way to introduce myself to German fare. I’ll certainly be back for beer and pretzels!

IMG_4804

Squires Loft City Steakhouse
12 Goldie Place
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9670 7317
Squires Loft City Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

IMG_5171IMG_5163

Fakebooo and I ended up at Squires Loft on one Friday evening after work. Our initial plan was to try out Mister Burger but it had closed by the time we rocked up. Our tummies were geared for western fare and we were always interested to try Squire’s Loft.

IMG_5170

As with most steak joints on a Friday night, Squires Loft was pretty packed and rowdy. Libby (The Very Very Hungry Caterpillar) recommends the ribs, which had me ordering the entrée-sized portion. Fakebooo was tempted to get lamb chops but we felt silly not ordering steak in a steakhouse. He had a rib eye, cooked to rare.

IMG_5165

I was amused by the slices of white bread served with pats of individually packaged Western Star butter. I’ll admit that I’m extremely spoilt these days and kinda expect artisan sourdough and churned butter or fruity extra virgin.

IMG_5168
Rib Eye on the Bone (350g) – a fine cut of pasture fed prime steer infused with flavour from the bone, char-grilled and brushed with Steakmate baste. Served with a choice of chips, mash or baked potato with sour cream and chives $38

Our meat came served on hot plates. The meat on the ribs required no effort with deboning; they were tender and soft and full of smokey flavour. I was almost tempted to gnaw and suck on the bones.

IMG_5166IMG_5169
Pork Spare Ribs – Marinated in Steakmate baste, tender and char-grilled (500g) $32.50

Fakebooo’s steak was perfectly cooked with a charred covering of tasty cow hiding a red juicy interior. The marinade had a slight tang to it and reminded me of peri-peri.

Our meal ended with complimentary chocolates, similar to After Eights. Squires Loft does dish up decent steaks which are perfectly cooked to request. I would have preferred being informed about provenance, and hence, am likely to choose a steakhouse such as The Station Hotel over the Loft.

Imperial Hotel
2-8 Bourke Street
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9810 0062
The Imperial Hotel on Urbanspoon

imperial

Woohoo to the Hawks winning the AFL premiership 2013! Now I don’t have to listen to The Angmoh’s whingeing and whining on how they lost to the Swans last year. Before we could win the cup, we did have to play the Swans in the finals, which made for a nerve-wrecking two and a half hours for The Angmoh.  We all know how the game turned out but the main question is, what did we have for dinner that night?

parma 1
The Imperial Parma – hand crumbed chicken breast fillet topped with champagne ham, basil-infused tomato ragout and two cheeses served with beer battered fries and cherry tomatoes, rocket and parmesan salad $25

Knowing that The Angmoh was going to be huge jittery pain in the bum, I thought I’d do the nice loving girlfriend bit and take him to someplace where he’d definitely enjoy his meal. The Angmoh is a devout passionate fan of chicken parmagianas, while I had never eaten a single one until I met him. Imperial Hotel is famous for its chicken parmas and the dish scores very well on Parma Daze. The Angmoh also gave it his nod of approval when we went last year.

Having made a booking just 60 minutes prior, we were seated in a comfortable booth. Service can be a problem with only a couple of waitresses multi-tasking between receiving patrons at reception, taking orders and serving food.

parma 2

I went along for the parma ride and decided to have it that evening. It was the motherload of parmas! It stretches over two palms-long and is a good half-inch thick. I wonder if it consists of more than 1 chicken breast or simply belonged to a breast of a mutated giant huge-ass chicken. Back to the dish, the schnitzel was topped with ham, smothered in Napoli sauce and blanketed by a generous serve of melted cheese. And that wasn’t all, the bird came with salad and chips. This dish definitely calls for a tactical approach to eating it.

parmas

Wear stretch pants for starters. And while the chips are pretty good, don’t waste stomach space with carby potatoes. Concentrate on eating the chicken and chicken alone. The salad provides a tangy relieve with the balsamic dressing so do alternate between chicken and leaves. And lastly, breathe!

The Angmoh and I were slumped-on-the-couch, coma-impending full that evening. The Angmoh even had to undo his belt halfway through dinner. While he gave up somewhere along the three-quarter line, I applaud myself for being able to tuck away this monster of a parma into my belly, no doubt stretching every stomach lining to the max.

For all chicken parma fans out there, or for those who have yet to come across this Aussie classic, Imperial Hotel’s chicken parmagiana is definitely a must!

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under CBD, German, Pub, Steak

Newmarket Hotel

Newmarket Hotel
34 Inkerman Street
St Kilda
Vic 3162
+61 3 9537 1777
Newmarket Hotel on Urbanspoon

IMG_4571

This year in June, some of Melbourne’s famous dining establishments celebrated the best of Victoria’s winter produce in the Melbourne Food and Wine Roast Collection. After perusing the event calendar and narrowing down a few choices, Fakebooo and I decided to venture to Newmarket Hotel for a Sunday winter roast lunch. The feature was a “Cal-Mex” roast buffalo, centered around a three course meal for $55.

Newmarket Hotel is an interesting mix of spaces. There’s dark alcoves sheltering plush leather chairs, perched seats reaching onto bright polished wood, outdoor dining amidst sunlit green flora and a handsome dining table from which strung herbs dangle.

IMG_4577IMG_4570
Prawn and mushroom fideuà

We started off sharing an aromatic dish of vermicelli with prawns and mushroom. It was similar to paella, with strong hints of saffron and prawn stock. I didn’t really see the need for the bread or pears. Anyhow, I helped myself to almost half the pan. Carbs be damned!

IMG_4575IMG_4572
Roasted buffalo, Mallee oak, quice aioli, chickpeas and cavelo nero

Our main of roasted smoked buffalo was beautifully pink but slightly deceiving. I found myself masticating somewhat like the poor animal I was consuming and putting my jaw muscles to good use. The meat was full of flavour, not at all gamey, and had hints of smoke. The accompanying cavelo nero, a favourite of mine, was tender and had absorbed the juicy meatiness from the buffalo. The quince aioli provided a surprisingly sweet balance. Unfortunately I lacked chewing stamina and was defeated after a couple of slices.

IMG_4573
Patatas bravas

The side of crisp potatoes was wonderful. Once again, carbs be damned, for it was everything roasted potatoes ought to be: crispy skins, fluffy insides, lip-smacking seasoning and oh-so-finger-licking-good. Fakebooo was enamored by these and found himself reaching for them again and again. And again.

IMG_4578
Chocolate and dulce de leche tart, Seville oranges, stout ice cream

We ended on a sugary high with a chocolate and dulce de leche tart. The base was not the usual shortcrust pastry that I was expecting but the filling was rich, smooth and sweet. The stout ice cream was lovely, with the beer flavours just peeking through.

Having been to Newmarket previously and enjoying my meal, the winter roast lunch lived up to my expectations. The food remains well-executed and well-presented.

IMG_4580

On a side note, the reason why some of the winter roast events didn’t suit was because The Angmoh, Fakebooo and I were in the Northern Territories for a little break. I leave you with some of the breath-taking scenes of the outback.
 
 Simpson's Gap
Simpson’s Gap

Stanley Chasm

Stanley Chasm

Rainbow Valley

Rainbow Valley

Kata Tjuta

Kata Tjuta

Uluru

Uluru

6 Comments

Filed under Gastropub, Latin American, Mexican, Pub, St Kilda

Station Hotel

The Station Hotel
59 Napier Street
Footscray
Vic 3011
+61 9687 2913
Station Hotel on Urbanspoon

My folks touched down on Mothers’ Day this year. Incidentally, it happened to be Mum’s birthday as well. Since both my parents fancy a good steak, a visit to Station Hotel was in order. I had invited The Angmoh and Fakebooo along; what better way to celebrate than with my 2 boyfriends meeting the parents.

IMG_3848IMG_3852

Station Hotel is steak heaven. A diagram of a bull with references to anatomy and cuts of meat prepares you for your meaty bloody meal. The beef is sourced within Australia and every steak is cooked to perfection. Salad and hand-cut chips complete the plate. House-made béarnaise or pepper sauce is served in burnished copper pans. They are rich and make a perfect drizzle over the steak or to dip chips in.

IMG_3853IMG_3854
(Left) 500g Castricum Brothers, Gippsland (VIC) grass fed Black Angus rib eye $48

Our party took a little while to decide which steak to have. With at least 12 different steaks to choose from, each a different provenance, cut, weight and means of processing, it can be quite confounding and flustering. In the end, we all picked something different, yet catering to our preferences.

IMG_3860
400g Castricum Brothers, Gippsland (VIC) dry aged grass fed Black Angus rump $40

Dad was hungry and had himself a half kilo ribeye. Mom ordered from the specials menu and hers came with a zucchini salad. (I forgot to note what it was, woops!) The Angmoh needed something substantial without compromising in flavour and texture and had a 400g dry aged rump. Fakebooo decided not to be greedy and had a small(ish) 250g grain fed Wagyu-cross rump, which had rich buttery flavours. I like my cow to be grass-fed and had the smallest serve that night, a 200g tenderloin.

IMG_3855
250g Security Foods (QLD) 300 day grain fed Wagyu x Black Angus rump $34

We couldn’t end Mom’s birthday dinner without dessert. Mom, Fakebooo and I shared a pistachio soufflé, while The Angmoh had chocolate mousse to himself. Dad was utterly stuffed; he had polished off the entire steak, salad and all the chips and simply had no room to fit dessert in.

IMG_3857
200g Victorian Farms, Gippsland (VIC) grass fed British Breed tenderloin $40

The soufflé arrived in its green upright glory. It remained fluffy and showed no signs of collapse as we dug into it. The texture was perfect but the pistachio flavour had a slight plasticky taste, perhaps from the nutty essence. The chocolate mousse was velvety smooth and rich in cocoa. The Angmoh lapped it up happily.

IMG_3867IMG_3865
Pistachio soufflé $12

Needless to say, it was one helluva satisfying meal. Mum was surprised at how reasonable the cost was. She had a very good steak experience in ‘Morton’s of Chicago’ in Singapore but remarked that “Steak in Morton is good but the price is ungood”.

IMG_3862
Valrhona chocolate mousse with griottines and kirsch $14

Station Hotel remains one of the few gastropubs I would bring family and friends to and visit over and over. The steak is top-notch, the price is extremely decent and the clientele far from “bogany”.

10 Comments

Filed under Footscray, Pub, Steak

Sweetwater Inn

Sweetwater Inn
1/60 Bray Street
South Yarra
Vic 3141
+61 4 02 532 578
Sweetwater Inn on Urbanspoon

bar

When Pan, Sham, The Angmoh and I arranged for movie night at Jam Factory, we decided to be one of the cool kids and check out newly-opened bar Sweetwater Inn.

hide 2

Sweetwater Inn offers a novelty outback-saloon feel, from a corrugated iron sheet as a bar, to hanging cow hides and dining with mess tins and recycled metal cans. There’s also melted candle wax, an organ as a condiment shelf and background country music. It conjured impressions of swinging wooden doors, glossy spurred boots and the obligatory rolling tumbleweed.

billy t
Billy Tea – West Wings Gin, Green tea, Ginger, Lemon & Honey $10

The menu consists of Australian tucker, and the special for the day involved an all-time Aussie favourite, the BBQ.  Vegetarian and vegan substitutes are also available and I heard that the vegan options taste like the real deal. We decided to go all carnivore. Pan and Sham had the pulled lamb sandwich, which they thoroughly enjoyed. Their satisfaction was not elaborately described but a simple ‘very good’ captured their feelings. The Angmoh’s fish and chips came perfectly battered and fried, and my roo steak sandwich was tasty and very tender.

lamb sandwich
BBQ Pulled Lamb with beetroot BBQ Sauce – Lamb shoulder, slowly smoked over lemon myrtle and black tea, coated in a sticky beetroot BBQ sauce. Pillled high over slaw in a damper roll. (Single $12)

fish n chips
Fosters Fish and Chips – Crispy Fosters battered market fish and chips, served with a wedge of lettuce and green aioli. $16

roo sandwich
Kangaroo Steak Sandwich – Kangaroo steak, marinated in Bundy and coke, cooked to medium-rare, served in a warm roll with dressed salad leaves with Melbourne Bitter braised onions. $16

We had no complaints with our drinks either. I particularly like The Noelie: the homemade quince paste sour was sweet and tart, and made the cocktail rather delicious.

Noelie
The Noelie – Rum, Montenegro and house-made quince paste sour. $12.50

Sweetwater Inn is definitely a cool place to hang out. With a clientele ranging from skater punks, eclectic hipsters, and fashionable Chapel-Street goers,  people-watching while enjoying Aussie brew and fare will be most entertaining.

2 Comments

Filed under Australian, Pub, South Yarra