In the spirit of the cooler change in weather, The North Melbourne Hotel have crafted a new Autumn menu, perfectly suited for those looking for modern European cuisine with a North Melbourne twist.
Owners Sandra and Jose De Oliveira are in fact celebrating thirty years in the hospitality industry this year, with their first ever venture being the Sir Robert Peel Hotel on Queensberry Street. With their lengthy experience and other projects in the industry, The North Melbourne Hotel has received great recognition since its opening in August 2016.
Much like it’s Richmond sibling, The Bouzy Rouge, this eclectic haven has a more-is-more approach. Gold walls, black glass chandeliers, oversized candelabra, with glittering bulls heads, and striking brass angels to top it off. It’s safe to stay the space has a maximalist design… but strangely, it works.
With a tendency to mismatch – wooden and marble table-tops, alternating plates, and relaxed, old-school blues and funk playing overhead in an over-the-top styled room – the menu is rather consistent, using flavours and dishes well known to European heritage.
To start, a classic Spanish dish of Snapper Ceviche ($15). With mango, strawberry, chilli, lime and tortilla chips, it did however feel a little misplaced, being a more summer dish with its vibrancy and fresh fruit. This however, did not take away from the overall quality or taste of the dish. The snapper itself was perfectly cured with combination of sweet and salty flavours, complemented by the added level of texture from the tortilla chips.
The Jalapeño Poppers ($4) were definitely a favourite. Filled with cream cheese and wrapped in pancetta, this pan fried delicacy is a must with every order. It gave a big kick of spice, but one that was perfectly complemented and soothed by the cream cheese.
The Eggplant Chips ($9) with romesco sauce and vegan aioli is a tasty side to any meal. While the eggplant chips itself were cooked perfectly – a crunch on the outside with a soft and delicate inside – the romesco sauce made the dish shine. With hints of garlic and nuts, the sauce elevated the side into something beautiful.
With a continuation of flavour, the Jamon Croquettes ($4) had it all right but was a little too heavy for comfort from the cheese. Regardless, it still made the perfect complement to the light eggplant chips.
With an avocado, tomato and coriander salsa, the Slow Roasted Chicken (Half $24, Whole $38) were tender, topped with perfectly crispy skin to add an element of texture to the chicken. The salsa elevated the dish greatly, adding an element of freshness rather than a heavy meat-based dish.
For the sweet tooths, take your pick from classic European desserts such as The North Tiramisu ($12), Creme Catalana ($12) or my favourite, the Italian Doughnut ($5). Made from ricotta, this fluffy doughnut is light, stuffed with silky vanilla ice cream to balance the richness of the sugar and salted caramel.
The North Melbourne Hotel
Address: 480 Victoria Street, North Melbourne
Contact: (03) 9328 1634
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 12pm – late