Monday, April 16, 2012

The Victorian

123 Beaconsfield Pde
Albert Park,
VIC 3206

Prior to our visit, we'd expected The Victorian to be one of the big old pubs/hotels that dot Beaconsfield parade, and from the outside it seemed to be, inside however it was a lot smaller. In fact it seems that the history of the building is more complex, having originally being built in the 1880's, initially probably as a Coffee Palace during the height of the temperance movement in booming Melbourne. According to the Victorian Heritage Register, "The Victoria hotel was built in 1888 for owner and licensee Mary McGregor to the design of architect Richard Speight. It is sited on the corner of Kerford Road and Beaconsfield Parade and is the most prominent nineteenth century structure along the entire length of the parade. This prominence is emphasised by the corner tower, double storey colonnade and elaborate three storey facade. The width of Kerford Road enhances the visibility of the building. The tower is angled on the corner and is crowned by an octagonal, column supported belvedere with pointed roof above."

By the early twentieth century it seems to have been 'Carlyons Hotel Victoria", Beaconsfield parade also looks quieter than today!

Later in the forties or fifties, with more cars now it must be licensed with the sign for VB painted on side.

It continued as a pub into the early 21st century, but was then converted into apartments, with the front corner of the ground floor retained as a restaurant/cafe/bar space.

So inside today is a lot smaller than we'd assumed, a reverse tardis maybe...

The white walls, wood floor, high windows, antique industrial lampshades and dramatically patterned walls allow the grand old building to feel modern. We visited on a Sunday evening and took booked via a 50% off the bill deal on YumTable, I'd booked with a bit of trepidation, as there had been reports of issues with coupon deals, but there were no problems for us.

The site seems to serve two businesses with a cafe offering breakfast and lunch and the brasserie open in the evenings. According to the website the head chef "...brings a wealth of international experience to The Victorian. Born and raised in France he studied in the wonderful culinary surrounds of Brittany. He developed his experience at Michelin star level in Switzerland at Auberge de Vouvry before moving to Canada where he enjoyed the role of Head Chef at Pullmann Wine bar and Tapas, Montreal. He has a passion for seafood and experimenting with flavour which is abundant in the menu of The Victorian".

The menu certainly had some interesting sounding options. The roasted scallops on apple puree, crispy fennel, confit lemon coulis, pork jelly and apple espuma with caviar certainly looked fascinating too, although in the end more of the beautiful scallops and less fancy foams would have impressed my fellow diner more.

The fried calamari with black aioli sauce and rocket salad was a well executed version of a dish I enjoy and the dark aioli was a nice change.

The homemade traditional gnocchi served in a mushroom ragu sauce was my choice for main and I enjoyed the oversized soft dumplings which came with plenty of mushrooms in a white sauce, topped with alittle cheese and diced tomatoes. I'd expected a more tomato based sauce but this was good.

The herbal crusted lamb rump was served with a lamb ragu croquette, crispy summer vegetable
and a tiny amount of jus, a little more sauce may have made this a perfect dish as the medium cooked lamb had my fellow diner in meat heaven.

We shared the strawberry crumble with raspberry coolie for desert, the basil and pepper flavours subtly improved the dish, and the was more of it than I managed to capture in this shot.

Overall we were really happy with four out of the five dishes we tried, and with the discount it was fantastic value for $64. The service was friendly and reasonably swift given the single server. We'd certainly thing about returning to try some of the other dishes another time, and it would also be a great spot to site out side on a nice day for breakfast or lunch.

The Victorian on Urbanspoon

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