High end restaurants in Australia are embracing native ingredients but Tasmanian pepper berry and kangaroo are harder to come by in local cafes, restaurants and pubs. The Crafty Squire which launched last week in the City (a revamp of the Portland Hotel) is showing that Attica isn’t the only place you can order wallaby.
I was invited to the launch and it was beers all round as The Crafty Squire is all about beer. The two storey venue on Russell Street has been fitted out in an industrial style with lots of exposed brickwork and shabby chic leather furniture adding character. But the main focus is The Crafty Squire’s brewery where you can try out a range of beers from The Swindler Summer Ale to the House Brew India Pale Ale. It’s the only working micro-brewery in the CBD and is certainly worth checking out if you are into craft beer.
While you might expect this type of place to serve up standard burgers and parmas (don’t worry these are still on the menu), chef Nicholas Hollands has embraced Australian ingredients in his menu. There’s crocodile hot dogs, emu dumplings and kangaroo carpaccio. The kangaroo carpaccio ($15 as an entree) is dark and tangy and comes teamed with pickled mushrooms for a dish that’s certainly out of the ordinary.
That’s not to say the food isn’t also the sort that goes down well with beer. It’s hard to go past salt and pepper calamari ($14) particularly when it comes with a creamy dipping sauce made from palm sugar.
And that crocodile hot dog ($12) is the perfect easy snack when you are focused on working your way through the beers on tap.
The Crafty Squire offers something a bit different right in the heart of the city. It’s a relief to see a pub menu which doesn’t just offer the same old standards and I’m excited about native ingredients becoming more and more popular.
Details: The Crafty Squire, 127 Russell Street, Melbourne (03 9810 0064)
Damage: Reasonable but on this occasion I didn’t pay.