Food and Drink
Posted by Paul Drury
20. Sep, 2012
Melbourne’s hotels are grand, almost immovable objects that, like The Dude, abide. A few never change, (The Rose in Fitzroy), some becomes shadows of their former selves (pokie joints) while others evolve into establishments suited to the tastes of the times: Moon Under Water at The Builders Arms and The Station Hotel in Footscray.
Add to this latter list The Graham Hotel, the venerable 130 year old hotel that is serving up more Modern French cuisine in the leafy backstreets of Port Melbourne.
Twin brothers Tony and Peter Giannakis are the owners and operators here, and opened The Graham over a decade ago after cutting their teeth working at places such as Bortolotto’s in St Kilda and the two-hatted Blake’s Restaurant in South Yarra.
Walking inside you wouldn’t guess The Graham used to be an old wharfies pub – inside it’s polished floor boards, floor to ceiling windows and white tablecloths. Out the back there’s a wine bar where you can choose from over 450 bottles of plonk. But my eye is drawn to the window off the main dining room where chef Perry Schagen, the Kiwi who formally worked as Head Chef at Circa the Prince and Taxi Dining Room is executing his new Modern French menu.
Items include chargrilled Wagyu porterhouse with thyme confit and bone marrow jus ($42), rolled balotine of rabbit, cauliflower cream, raspberry madeira dressing ($38.5) and pan-fried john dory, scallop and smoked eel fondant, white asparagus & miso nage ($38.5). While the prices are a little hefty if you’re dropping by for lunch, there are options.
There’s the $35 lunch express which gives you two course and a glass of wine, or if you’re feeling like something longer there’s the seven course degustation ($85pp, min two guests) that pretty much covers all the bases. It wasn’t a Friday but my afternoon was clear and it was pay day, so my partner and I went for the dego.
Plump oysters, smoky waguu, a cleansing tomato broth, a lot of fish – it all sort of blurred into one food flurry after awhile – which isn’t to say the service was rushed, though possibly my drinking was.
The banquet ended with spoon on lemon house made gelato. I’m not sure when pubs started making there own gelato, but I’m all for it. The tartness of the lemon was just the right note to end the debauchery on.
For a long, boozy lunch in one of Melbourne’s oldest pubs, the The Graham is worth swanning by. And, like all self-respecting pub, it has its own ghost. And BYO Mondays.
The Graham Hotel is currently taking part in Spring Graze and offering a special degustation menu.
For more info click here.
97 Graham Street, Port Melbourne
Restaurant: open seven day, lunch 12noon – 3pm, dinner 6pm – 10pm
Wine Bar: Mon – Thurs from 4pm, Sun from 2pm
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