Please note: Foodie Melbourne dined as a guest of Hunter and Barrel and AMPR Group but all opinions are my own.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the new Eastland precinct, and wondered if it was going to live up to all the hype. However, as I walked out of the carpark on a balmy Thursday evening into the ‘Town Square’, a hub of restaurants and hip food outlets with a huge outdoor eating area I immediately realized this place was going to live up to the hype. There, nestled within the new, fashionable, architecturally exciting Eastland was some of the inner ‘burbs best foodie hotspots, bustling with people trying out what for some will be their new local.
Amongst these foodie spots, one of the most beautiful is the new restaurant from Seagrass Hospitality Group- Hunter and Barrel. Walking into the restaurant one can almost feel the ethos of the restaurant. With a strong focus on ‘the hunter’s way’, using quality cuts of meat cooked over open fires and coals, the architecture of the restaurant is earthy but modern, almost like walking into an extremely fashionable and hip forest. The restaurant also showcases a range of barrel aged drinks and boasts an extremely reasonably priced but intriguing menu both for food and beverages.
Myself and the other diners lucky enough to be given a showcase of the menu on opening night oohed and aahed over some of the gorgeous dishes we received.
Starting the night was a Watermelon Cocktail that used fat washed vodka, giving the drink a non-offensive rosemary after-taste. Deliciously refreshing and different, this was a perfect cocktail for a balmy, sunny evening and seemed to go down well for everyone!
The snack of cultured butter, sourdough and spicy crispy fried corn was a hit- a little hint of how delicious the rest of the food that evening would be. I wondered why the staff seemed so proud of these little corn cobs until I tasted them- crispy, buttery morsels of sweet corn combined with a green chilli salt buzz.
Both starters were equally delicious- it was impossible to choose a favourite. I am not a huge fan of spicy food but both the Chicken wings with hot and sweet sauce and the Chilli Garlic prawns carried the exact intensity my palate can handle and enjoy.
The meat platter is sure to impress; a variety of gorgeous cuts of meat cooked over the coals. This is a place where you can take your paleo friends and they can happily feast like cavemen. The style of cooking allows the meats themselves to be the star. Roast chicken with lemon and rosemary, cheese kransky and spiced Wagyu sausage, slow roasted beef rib and crispy roasted pork belly were all cooked expertly but simply. Served with an array of earthy sides like button mushrooms, radicchio salad, potato and watercress salad and roast cauliflower (my favourite) this was a main that felt nourishing as well as delicious.
The nourishment soon ended once it was time for dessert. I am not a huge sweet tooth, and while I love dessert it is only every now and then I get really excited to try dessert. This was one of those times. The chocolate and marshmellow roast with biscuits served in a skillet was like happiness on a plate for me. It immediately transported me back to being 10 years old and roasting marshmellows on the fire and sandwiching them between biscuits with chocolate and feeling ‘oh so American’. This dessert is devilishly decadent but completely satisfying, and so sweet that one between four would definitely be enough. The Golden Syrup dumplings weren’t so much my thing, but that allowed me more taste-buds to swoon over the marshmellow masterpiece.
This is the kind of restaurant I would recommend to any of my (non-vegetarian) friends. Combining the theatre of an inner city restaurant, a gorgeous space, buzzing atmosphere and beautiful menu offerings, it would only be those who aren’t meat-eaters that wouldn’t find something to love about this spot.
I was surprised to see how reasonable their ‘Hunter’s Feast’ was- $38 per person for the impressive meat platter shown above, a choice of four sides and the sourdough bread with cultured butter. This coupled with a few of the drinks from their well selected wine and cocktail menu, and it is a fairly reasonable priced night out with friends in a beautiful venue and a feast of food. I intend to take my gang there very soon… mostly to spend some more time with the marshmellow and chocolate skillet!
Hoping you had a delicious long weekend,