In the last of Gourmet Chick‘s guest posts series, we take a trip to Port Melbourne to sample some gastropub fare. Gourmet Chick is a Melburnian living in London who writes about food in London and around the world (including Melbourne) at www.gourmet-chick.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @msgourmetchick. Thanks Gourmet Chick!
When is a gastro pub not a gastro pub? When it is The Graham Hotel in Port Melbourne, which has gone so far down the gastro path that you can’t really call it a pub anymore.
Drinking is still an important part of The Graham experience but it is drinking from The Graham‘s extensive wine list over a long lunch or drinking a cocktail at the wine bar around the back. The main pub area has been entirely converted into a restaurant which is filled with smart white clothed tables where diners can look out the picture windows to watch the street life go by.
There is also a lovely private room which accomodates 28 people and is where I ate on my most recent visit . Helpfully for groups The Graham offers a $59 two course menu which is great value for food of this calibre.
The food is modern Australian sporting lots of Asian and Meditteranean influences. To begin, a trio of chilli barbecque prawns ($21.50) which were served on an Asian salad of green paw paw and thai basil. The prawns had a lovely fiery kick to them although mine had been slightly overcooked giving them a slighly acrid charred flavour.
Goats cheese tortelli ($16.50) was a small serving of wide pasta layered over stuffed zucchini flowers and ricotta. This was a really light and fresh pasta dish.
Rice crusted snapper ($34.50) was served with a beautifully crisped skin on top of tempura eggplant and prawn fritter. Fresh seafood doesn’t really get better than this and the fritter was the perfect accompaniment.
Throughout our (rather long) lunch the service was fantastic. Two of our friends at the lunch had babies with them and the waitress held their babies for them while they ate. This was a lovely touch that was clearly going above and beyond what is expected and it allowed the babies’ mothers to actually enjoy their meals.
The Graham is run by twins Tony and Peter Giannakis and is a real stalwart of the Melbourne restaurant/gastropub scene. My latest meal there showed why people keep on going back to it.