Ok ... so when it comes to food posts I'm not a fan of combining more than one review into a single post - I'm of the school of essay writing where each paragraph should posit a singular idea or proposition. So coming up is a series of short sharp and quick reviews of places we have eaten in over the last few months. By the way, I'm listening to Curtis Mayfield while I write this, so forgive me if I go a little vintage ghetto on your ass!!
Starting with Watermelon!! As in I've been drinking ...
I'm not a natural born beer drinker. I don't dislike the taste, but I do worry ... now don't laugh ... about the middle aged beer paunch!! The fear is real people, so don't mock me! Also, I've never been a fan of highly carbonated drinks in any form ... having said that I rarely turn down a good G &T!
So I completely surprised myself at how much I enjoyed my glass of Moondog Brewing's "Bjorn to Boogie" beer. This is what they call a Heffeweizen (a german style wheat beer) - and yes I can't keep up with all this new fanglery ... I still go all Miranda Hart when someone orders a piccolo in my near vicinity! Its watermelon based and has a clear and slightly fruity taste ... on its way towards meady but taking a sharp detour to the tropics! Loved it!!
We were at the Hyde Street Hotel Pub for a recent CBA Friday. Yet another Gastro Reinvention popping up all over the West. You know the drill, once a dive for the locally soused denizens with $3 pots, now all shiny wood and vaguely sculptural light fittings and please to add a 100% inflationary rate to the bill at the end of the night! Not that I am completely against this tide of gentrification, just as long as it doesn't sweep away all the honest charm that was here in the first place. And lets not forget about having some form of quality control please!
Firstly, where are the sound technicians slash acoustic engineers in the design process. If you have a large cavernous room and are expecting to seat a hefty number of punters, then spare a thought about sound absorption, especially in the bistro part of your establishment as opposed to out in the open bar area! We would like to not only enjoy our food, but have a proper conversation as well. This is a frustratingly all too common situation amongst revamped pubs. We had to shift tables at a recent visit to the Post Office Hotel in Coburg, which I will post about later, and a birthday celebration was completely ruined at Le Bon Ton for the same reason.
Lets get down to the food. First up its gastro-pub prices so don't bitch!! You know where the door is if you are not happy. Its not like you are not spoilt for choice in this area. As Gastro-pub prices go, this is on the lower end of the scale - i.e. mains are on average between $25 to $30 pp. But there are pizzas to be had and a sizeable list of entrees/shared plates - and they don't all come out of a tin and off a slicer.
Craft beers and locally sourced Artisanal wines permeate the extensive drinks list which should keep both the hop obssessed and the budding viticulturists amongst us suitably engaged. My Tar and Roses Pinot Grigio from the Strathbogie Ranges ($9.5) was a delight and very quaffable.
As the Temasek household is currently on an enforced regime of austerity, we went straight to mains. I ordered the Swordfish with potato croquettes ($26) from the Specials menu. The fish was nicely cooked and the garnish of pea shoots provided a nice textural and earthy note, but the puree of something or other underpinning the whole dish didn't do much to pull all the flavours together. Some great ideas but maybe something was lost in translation in an effort to gastrofy proceedings. Sill there was not much left on the plate at the end of it.
I think M may have fared better with his Roasted lamb rump w’crushed kiplers, green beans and sauce vierge ($30). The Lamb had a nice meaty charred flavour and the beans were simply but beautifully cooked with just the right amount of crunch. Again there wasn't much left on his plate and isn't that the ultimate testament?
By this stage me and M had slyly slipped into date mode and were finding humour in the slightest of hooks, so we decided to hang caution to the wind and have dessert! We opted for the Pannacotta which came with some citrusy peanuty praline ($10) type garnish. The Pannacotta was well done but there was a soapy flavour amidst the preserved orange which ruined it for me slightly. Still my Bjorn to Boogie was going down nicely.
This odd little pocket of Hyde Street is rather quaint. There's plenty of street parking and I can see potential for celebratory parties here. Its not going to absolutely blow your mind. But there's certainly a steady hand at the helm here at the Hyde Street Hotel! Definitely worth checking out.
PS - woeful menu descriptions were the result of lazy and flawed note-taking and yes this wasn't quite short and sharp! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯