After a brief wander through the South Melbourne Night Markets, C and I found ourselves in a South Melbourne black hole. Both of us were familiar with daytime cafes in the area, but where to go for dinner?
Fortunately, we remembered the gastropub O’Connell’s. This beautifully restored pub is in a quiet residential area of South Melbourne and at 6:30pm on a Thursday night most people were lounging at the leafy pavement tables enjoying a drink and the sunshine. C and I were the first people to settle into the surprisingly starched dining room adjoining the bar, but it didn’t feel silent or stuffy.
O’Connell’s menu ranges from sturdy pub grub to more fine dining options. C and I went somewhere in the middle – chicken and pumpkin sausages with lentils and mashed potato ($26.50), and a large salad of calamari, fennel, watercress and blood orange segments ($28).
My tender calamari had a big kick of spice offset by the crisp salad ingredients. C’s sausages were almost crumbly in texture, with the pumpkin keeping the whole mix together and lending an unexpected sweetness to the hearty dish. Both of the dishes were generously proportioned and although we were tempted by the dessert menu old classic favourites (chocolate fondant, sticky date pudding, crumble) we couldn’t fit another thing into our satisfied stomachs.