Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Brandon Hotel, Carlton North

237 Station St (Cnr Lee St), Carlton North 3054 VIC

I love the idea of pub meals, especially in the depths of winter. However, usually you hear about pub meals in Melbourne which a supposedly fantastic, only to find out they are over priced italian meals or Bangers and Mash. Although, their new chef - Jane Molloy is from The Grand Hotel in Richmond - one of those over priced italian pubs.

So, when some friends of mine invited me to try out the Brandon in Carlton North, I was somewhat skeptical about what would be on offer. However, the Brandon Hotel is within walking distance from my house so I thought it would be worth a shot.

The front bar is your typical local pub, with sticky carpet and old bar stools, nothing fancy here.
However, the dining room appears to have undergone a renovation in the last few years. It's quite large with an open fire place, white table linen and vases of fresh flowers.

The menu here absolutely screams warm me up! When you get out those winter cook books, this is exactly the sort of food you look for to make on a Sunday when it's cold and rainy outside.

I had the Roast duck breast with braised red cabbage & parsnip puree $30. The duck was beautifully cooked and not too fatty. The parsnip puree was deliciously creamy and (juniper berry?) Jus, was perfect over the top.

The Bouillabaisse with char grilled ciabbata $26 looked amazing, however my friend would have probably preferred that the prawn heads were removed before serving. They're great for flavour - but not everyone likes heads on their plate.

Our other guests both had the
Navarin of Lamb with glazed root vegetables & mash $28, which was fantastic. The lamb was soft and tasty, with a large serving of mash on the side.

Nothing fancy here, just good, honest pub grub, the sort of stuff Gordon Ramsay tries to get all those hopeless restaurants to make on that TV show. The food here isn't cheap, but for it's quality I would not say it's over priced either. Also, if you don't want to spend $30 each on a mid week meal, you can also eat a good old parma in the front bar and other pub standards for about half that.

We will definately be back to visit the Brandon, but I suspect by the time we get back there, the rest of Melbourne may have discovered Carlton North's little secret.

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