Friday, April 27, 2012

Terminus Hotel, North Fitzroy

492 Queens Parade
North Fitzroy
VIC 3068

We met friends for lunch in the Terminus Hotel in North Fitzroy, right on the border with Clifton Hill and Northcote at the top of Queens Parade. Poor form I know but, I'd done no research before arriving, other than a very brief over the shoulder glance at the menu online. Apparently it has a good reputation as both a local pub with a good range of beers and as a 'gastropub', which would have probably put me off. Happily it resembled more of a pub that served good food, rather than what seems to be more common in Melbourne these days of pubs that have basically been converted into restaurants...

The menu featured some pub stables (burger, parma, fish and chips) plenty of steaks some sharing/tapas style dishes and a few south American influenced dishes, in line with current Melbourne trends.

I made my selection partially based on health considerations, and settled on the chipotle spiced chickpea and spinach hotpot, with salsa verde, haloumi and shallots, covering several international influences. It certainly impressed on arrival with crunchy fried shallots sat atop the chunks of salsa covered fried cheese. The heart of the dish was more tomato based than I'd expected, bub I enjoyed the smokey spicy chipotle flavours, and eventually found the spinach hiding at the base of the bowl.

 The wagyu burger, looked good on arrival too, packed with cheddar, pickles, tomato, tomato relish it was too big for Bryn to attempt with out his knife and fork, once he got stuck in he seemed impressed.

I also tried some of the chargrilled calamari, chimmichurri from the sharing plates section of the menu. The serve was pretty big, but even half a plate seemed a fair bit to get through, despite the excellent combination of flavours and preparation, a little more greenery or vegetation of some sort would have been nice, on the other hand with some other sharing plates, it wouldn't have been a problem.

The most ordered dish at the table was the rolled chicken breast with porcini and thyme stuffing, roasted corn purée, polenta, asparagus and chicken jus which seemed to satisfy all of its recipients.

The Terminus is definitely a pub, with great food like the gastropubs I remember fondly from London, with the casual attitude, orders taken at the bar, and the option of just grabbing a drink if you like, or maybe it was just the grey damp weather outside that brought back the memories! Well I'm actually an Aussie citizen these days, so it's good I've found a pub that seems to combine the best of both worlds, and certainly one I'd happily go back to.

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