|Inside the Newmarket – featuring Greedy Diva’s cardigan|
The food on offer is just as trend driven as the space featuring “SoCal” cuisine. It’s a pretentious label but it covers a range of good stuff – soft tacos, Catalan flat breads and Latin cured meats. Luckily I was lunching at the Newmarket Hotel with Carly who writes the excellent Greedy Diva and who has an appetite as big as mine so we managed to try a fair portion of the menu.
|Corn on the cob|
To start, corn on the cob cooked on the BBQ and slathered with chili and cheese. I could have done with more chili and more cheese but the corn did have a great smoky taste. Do not order this if you are on a date or with people you are trying to impress as eating it is not a pretty sight (Greedy Diva excluded – she managed it quite daintily).
The soft tacos are also not ideal first date fodder as they are as messy as they are delicious. We had them two ways, firstly with cubes of crisp, glistening pork sweetened with diced pineapple ($16) and then with fresh prawns and crunchy slaw ($16).
Continuing on the pork theme we could not resist ordering the pork ribs ($36) after seeing them served at a neighbouring table. The ribs were sticky with BBQ sauce and were so comically big that they almost looked like some form of dinosaur bones. The accompanying salad was sweet and refreshing and just what was needed to cut through the sweet, rich ribs.
Our waitress suggested we needed another salad and recommended the Mexican chopped salad ($12). To be honest, the salad accompanying the ribs was enough and this mix of iceberg lettuce, cherry tomatoes and cactus was drowned in its cheese dressing. It would have been quite filling if that was all we were having for lunch but was overkill with the ribs, tacos and corn.
|Mexican chopped salad|
The drinking at the Newmarket Hotel is every bit as enthusiastic as the dining. There are jugs of cocktails on offer and wines are divided into house, table and “fine” and served by the carafe. The 2011 Semillon Sauvignon from Margaret River was crisp and elegant.
Often I feel sad at the gentrification of pubs. When an old fashioned boozer is revamped into a gleaming gastro pub a little something inside me often dies. However I have no such qualms about the new look Newmarket hotel. Farewell schnitz and tits and hola SoCal!
Details: The Newmarket Hotel, 34 Inkerman Street, St Kilda (Ph +61 3 9537 1777) Open midday – 1am.
*For my overseas readers – a schnitz and tits night is fairly self explanatory. The bartenders are female and topless and schnitzel is served. Classy hey?