The Builders Arms

If you remember The Builders Arms back in the day you will be pretty surprised by its transformation.  Its the most recent addition to Gertrude street by the prolific McConnell brothers, this time it is Andrew behind the new look pub.  No longer a true boozer the place is all polished up although the bistro itself is pared back and very minimalist withe the only real decoration being some neon installations on the walls.  The new look comes at a cost and you get stung on the drink prices but the food is top notch quality and offers an interesting twist on the usual pub food.  

Fish pie at The Builders Arms

I was there last week for my annual book club Christmas party, traditionally a boozy affair, and we needed a table for twelve and a decent set menu.  The Builders Arms delivered with interesting food, no minimum spend (that creates too much pressure) and a reasonably priced $65 a head set menu.


To start there were pickles very on trend and deliciously salty with the added sweetness of the beetroot pickle.  They were served with plates of delicate folds of jamon Serrano which was rich and fatty enough to almost melt on my tounge.

Whipped cod roe

The house made Turkish bread with a dip of whipped cod topped with pops of roe was incredibly good and incredibly moreish.

Beetroot Salad at The Builders Arms

Beetroot salad was served as a classic combination with the crunch of walnuts and the creaminess of shanklish a soft cheese.  The mains on offer included a generous fish pie bursting with salmon and prawns and topped with a hat of buttery puff pastry.  The seafood was spankingly fresh but the pie had been slightly overseasoned.  The sides of roast potato with confit garlic were the business.

Chocolate terrine at The Builders Arms

To finish a dessert of chocolate terrine was moist and oh so rich teamed with a scoop of “Eccles cake” ice-cream.  The Eccles cake flavour was a bit too subtle to pick up but the ice-cream was smooth and creamy.  It was typical of the offering at The Builders Arms which is essentially pub dishes made with more panache than usual and some quirky ingredients.  It’s pub grub with a twist.  But be warned that the spartan interior can feel a little sterile at times and drinks at the bar are over priced.

Details: The Builders Arms, 211 Gertrude Street, Collingwood (Ph 03 9417 7700)
Damage: Pricey.  The set menu was $65 a head.

Builders Arms Hotel Bar and Bistro on Urbanspoon


  1. Pricey…but I think this might be one of my dream meals. Yum.

    Lela –

  2. Good summary and may need to visit while doing it dry in January.

    Have a good Christmas.

  3. Lela – Yes it’s not cheap sadly

    Andi – The dessert was pretty good

    Sharking – If you are doing dry January then you probably do need some food comfort..

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