HOT: Grace Darling Hotel, 114 Smith St, Collingwood‎

There was a time when the grungy Grace Darling was the kind of pub which you’d cross the road to avoid. Now the pretty brick and stone building has been given a good clean-up and on a sunny day you’ll find the pub full of youngsters spilling out on the pavement tables and filling up the glamorous inside bar.

Grace Darling Hotel, 114 Smith St, Collingwood‎

So the crowd inside the pub’s atrium dining room was a bit unexpected – it seems to attract an older, quarter-acre block, class of diner. Maybe the youngsters go to the Grace Darling to drink, not to eat, which would be a shame as I think the food is good and the prices are reasonable.

Grace Darling Hotel, 114 Smith St, Collingwood‎

The kitchen is doing some interesting things with a traditional pub menu.  One of their staples is their fancy-pants version of the chicken parmigiana ($18), a terracotta ramekin containing a slow cooked chicken breast layered with prosciutto and parmesan crumbs. Not being much of a parma fan, I much preferred this gourmet version, although it was more of a winter meal and felt quite heavy in my stomach afterwards.

Grace Darling Hotel, 114 Smith St, Collingwood‎

Our other main was the daily special of pork chop with pecans, maple syrup, apple, pear and witloaf salad ($24.50). A gigantic pork chop was served on top of a mound of salad made of what seemed to be a dozen pieces of fruit. The salad was an inspired combination which delivered a contrasting crunch and sweetness to the juicy and tender meat. We really enjoyed this dish and it was definitely more suitable for a summer’s evening meal.

We originally had good intentions for dessert but the huge proportions of the meal left us much too full to contemplate the self-saucing chocolate pudding or hummingbird cake ($9 each). Never mind, we’ll be back to the Grace Darling.

You can also check out the review by The Age here.  Like gastropubs? Try The Court House and The Palace by Luke Mangan.

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12 thoughts on “HOT: Grace Darling Hotel, 114 Smith St, Collingwood‎

  1. Wow – another spookily timed post. I was chatting to a mate this morning and suggested we go to the Grace Darling for dinner in the next week or so and (despite my assurances) they were unsure if it is a good place for a meal. I’ll be forwarding this on to them now!!

    I went a while ago and had the parma too. I am pretty sure some friends also happily attacked a sticky date pudding there, so the desserts are definitely worthwhile!
    .-= Emily´s last blog ..The Daring Kitchen: Cook’s February Challenge – Mezze =-.

    • Hi Emily

      Glad to be of assistance :) Enjoy your dinner at the Grace Darling, hope the pork is still on the menu for you. I am definitely heading back for some dessert on your recommendation, loooove sticky date pudding!

      Jetsetting Joyce

  2. I remember the Grace Darling going through a Spanish stage at one time where it used to serve quite good tapas and sangria, obviously it has changed again. That deconstructed chicken parma looks great though. See you tomorrow!
    .-= Gourmet Chick´s last blog ..Wahaca =-.

  3. I have tried to like the new grace darling, but it just doesn’t work for me. The food is mostly good, but I have turned up on random weeknights and the same meals have been average. I guess it happened one too many times and I haven’t been back since I found the newton workers club with the same concept but more consisetent, and I think better food. Fish and chips out the front seems to be new thing there though! And watch out for straw dog ( you will know if you see him!)

    • Hi Ben

      Thanks for your comment. I’ve only been once to the Grace Darling so I can’t say whether they are consistently good or not (although friends who have also been before had the same positive experiences as me). I do like the fish and chip window! I haven’t been to the Newtown Workers Club (didn’t realise they did proper meals) and I will give it a go on your recommendation – any menu suggestions?

      Jetsetting Joyce

  4. At the newtown I love the bangers and mash, the mix of the cabbage, mash and veal gravy is great and is brilliant with the sausages. The stew on special is usually really good as well and also the roo burger! Pretty laid back dining room but comparable to the grace if you sit in the front bar. As you noted the atrium at the grace is a bit stuffy anyway

  5. Mmm, I had the Grace Darling parma, and while I thought it was quite tasty, it also didn’t leave a lasting impression on me. I was just going to add that I too love the food at the Newtown Workers Club (or is it just the Workers Club now?); and that I also had some amazingly delicious chips and aioli at the Builders Arms on Gertrude St recently – recommend them!

    • Hi Caity

      I guess I’m not generally a parma person, so the Grace Darling impressed me purely because it wasn’t a traditional parma! I think there’s two places on Brunswick St which I often confuse – Newtown Workers Club is the little cafe, whereas Workers Club is the old Rob Roy pub on the corner of Gertrude and Brunswick St. I have heard the pub grub at the latter is good. And thanks for the tip for Builders Arms – haven’t been there in a while, and have never tried the chips!

      Jetsetting Joyce

  6. Smith Street, Collingwood if you have never visited is like being in ten countries in one very long street. There is not only Italian, but a whole range of wonderful Asian foods and cuisines. All of which are served in a variety of settings. Some are just like the shop houses you see in Asia and others are trendy cafes with all the comforts that we love in Melbourne. Smith Street, unlike Brunswick Street, is still rather underdeveloped in the sense that it is just a little rough around the edges. Oh, but it is a favorite haunt of mine!

  7. Collingwood and surrounding inner city suburbs are packed with old hotels that are now trendy, yet often low key cafe/wine bars. It is worth a long weekend to Melbourne, just for the food and beverages.

  8. “I’ve visited the Grace Darling Hotel and thought the food and atmosphere were fantastic. Easily the best pub in the area. It feels warm & inviting- there is beautiful ship wallpaper, candlelight and chesterfield couches.
    Had some lovely juicy Lamb Shanks & a delicious Ocean Trout fillet and the freshest oysters I’ve had in sometime.
    I really recommend a visit, good food set to great music and a cool vibe We went on a weekend and I guess like most places in a bustling location it was busy- didn’t mind cos it kind of added to the experience”.

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