Newmarket Hotel 34 Inkerman Street, St Kilda, Melbourne Contact: 03 9810 0087 Just off the Princess Highway is the Newmarket hotel. With a rather deliberately low key looking entrance, it opens out onto a secluded, glassed courtyard, bathed in light, a chilled bar lounge, and intimate dinner amongst the concrete arches and rather suggestive wallpaper. This a place to take up residence and graze through their share plates and light tapas, peppered with drinks from their extensive and balanced lists. For ease of writing, First off, the drinks: Drinks – BBQ throwdown – Don Julio Tequila, mezcal, herbal frnech liqueur, citrus & secret liqueur served with fresh pineapple – $19 Great tequila bite and depth but with a citrus top, sweet mid and a light crisp finish. What a way to start! Hey Nicole – Tanqueray Gin, Chambord, Lemon and bitters served over ice – $19 Smooth with a satin creaminess and hints of raspberry splice tastiness, which takes me back to my early days. peach and Cinnamon old fashioned – bulleit bourbon, cinnamon, bitters, peach and mint – $19 Almost a maple and coconut syrup sweetness, but with a spicy back. The Peach rounds the notes with a hint of fruit. A great take on a classic. Guacamole and Corn chips – Lime, spices, salsa & plaintain – $14 A classic and a great taster, crunchy and spicy and fresh. Market Oysters – toasted pepper, shallot and vinegar & bbq lime – $4.2 each Black Russian Gazpacho Oysters – Crisp Coriander, cumin oil and salsa fresca – $4.9 So fresh, with the taste of sea spray still in them, the shallot and vinegar caps off the richness, and the black russian balances fresh flavours with a hint of spice. scallop cerviche – Salt water cream, chilli, cucumber and radish – $8 each This was a great dish. Delicate and smooth, with the crunch of the radish. The fresh olive oil gave a satin mouth feel with the cream smoothing the top. Top notch. Slow cooked pork belly – Smoked sauce, soy beans and kimchee – $17 Great nutty spicy sauce and perfectly tender pork. The beans added a good texture and the kimchee zing added some complexity. Tacos – Crispy john dory, bouillabaisse salad, rouille and cucumber – $16 for 2 Newmarket Spiced Chicken wings – rose petal, mint yoghurt and dates – $13 Beautifully crunchy fried fish, but still juicy on the inside. The spice from the sauce balances against the fresh salad. The Chicken was juicy as well, with a spicy crunchy skin. There was a linger depth of savoury fizz that stayed on the tip of the tongue. Mouth watering. smoked chicken quesadilla – Salsa Fresca, jalapeno and coriander – $15 Cheese and chicken meld to a gooey goodness. Great flavour bite with a lightness that I didn’t expect from the big, brash ingridients. The heat of the chilli lingered, capped by the fresh salsa and coriander. Wood fired corn on the cob – caramelised miso & shiso pewpie – $6 Great char that only comes from a real fire. Sweet corn with the great tangy creamy mayo. The nori and herbs balance the rich sauce. Spiced Lamb Shoulder – caramelised cauliflower, pedro ximenez – $34 Fall apart tender, rich and with a subtle spice that rounds out the lamb. As if to highlight this, they give you a spoon and fork to serve it! Great smokey flavour, with the cauliflower giving a nutty creaminess and a good bitey texture. spring Greens – almond coulis, smoked almonds – $9.5 Great accompaniment. The greens have bitterness and crunch that balance the spiced almonds on the top of the mouth and the satin smooth sauce. Espresso Flan de queco – sour cream chantilly & doughnut crumbs – $14 This was a great way to finish, with the coffee notes balancing the caramel creaminess. This is a bit of a South American speciality, with its origins with the creme caramel, but there’s a depth that keeps you going back. The Newmarket hotel wears many hats, but some how manages to do them all well, which is no mean feat. An urban oasis, with a relaxed courtyard, extensive tap list and great drinks, it’s great for drink, a drink and a snack, a light meal, a big meal or even a whole evening session. The menu is extensive and interesting, with the south american flavours adding a spin to fare, lifting it beyond normal gastropub grub. Well worth trying, especially with a bunch of friends, on a warm summer afternoon!
The Food Society dined as a guest of Newmarket Hotel.
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