|Slow cooked lamb in brik pastry at Captain Melville|
I was invited to have dinner there and pushed open the front door of the building to see the old pub interior. Walking through the back revealed a huge enclosed area with a glass roof and long tables leading to an open kitchen. It’s a stylish design featuring lots of timber, glass and of course bluestone and there are well thought out details like burlap bags and jars of Australian wildflowers. From a perch here you can see chef Shayne McCallum and his team work away in the kitchen cooking up pub classics often with a twist reflecting Shayne’s experience at top Melbourne restaurants including Blakes, The Botanical, The Kingston Hotel and The Graham.
|Chicken on betel leaf, pinot grigio and the lethal curdled mik shot at Captain Melville|
That experience shows in the sophisticated special of a small portion of shredded chicken cooked in masterstock and laced with coconut and chilli served on a betel leaf. It was a really delicate dish and a great way to kick start a meal. This dish isn’t listed on the menu so make sure to check the specials board to see if it is on it. For something slightly more substantial tender slow cooked lamb was wrapped in crisp brik pastry and doused with a tangy smoked yoghurt sauce ($6.50).
|Quinoa salad at Captain Melville|
It’s not a Melbourne restaurant unless there is quinoa somewhere on the menu and Captain Melville does a cracking take on a quinoa salad ($16). The quinoa is teamed with asparagus, broad beans and bright yellow beetroots and sits on a pool of honey yoghurt.
|Mini hot dogs made with bratwurst at Captain Melville|
Moving on to some dude food snacks Captain Melville serves up mini hot dogs ($6.50) made with bratwursts and topped with sauerkraut and a dollop of mustard there are also sliders ($6.50) using pork belly, baby cos lettuce and crackling. I would have liked a little more crackling but both are good choices for soaking up the booze.
Of course there is also a parma on the menu ($25) and Captain Melville’s take on this classic dish is one of the city’s best, made with Bannockburn free range chicken cut as a thick and juicy fillet before being crumbed and topped with a Napoli sauce. The only let down to the parma was its accompaniment of slightly undercooked hand cut chips and some rather retro coleslaw.
|Captain Melville’s parma|
Finally, the must try dessert is the salted caramel banana split. It’s Shayne’s take on a stoner dessert and reminded me of Ms G’s in Sydney. I particularly enjoyed the shards of honeycomb sitting on top of the ice-cream.
|Salted caramel banana split at Captain Melville|
It’s also worth exploring beyond the wine and beers on offer at Captain Melville as the cocktails are pretty good. Like the food, the cocktail menu offers a quirky take on standard offerings like the Gully which is the pub’s take on a mojito with the addition of smoky spirit. I tried the Macedon Gang Punch ($16) which did pack a punch thanks to the combination of rum, sour lemon and sweet agave topped with the smokiness of Booker’s fire bitters. If you are brave ask for a shot of Captain Melville’s home made brew made from curdled milk laced with rum – not for the faint hearted.
It’s good to see this historic building restored to its former glory and the bushranger theme makes the place a little different to your standard pub. It’s good to see Captain Melville has ridden back into town.
Gourmet Chick was a guest of Captain Melville.
Details: Captain Melville, 34 Franklin street, Melbourne 3000 (Ph 03 9663 6855)
Damage: Pricey. But on this occasion I did not pay.