3AW - Fairfax Radio Network

What we're talking about

  • Jack Chang on Ballcourt Hotel Has this hotel changed hand recently, freehold and business or just business? They had an auction sometime last year but no ... more
  • Graham on Manhattan Hotel, Ringwood You are totally right Tony. Pubs in the burbs have focussed too much on bright lights, brass & silver fittings, poker ... more
  • Janet Willson on Mount Macedon Hotel Thanks for your great sharing of Mount Macedon Hotel. I like this. more
  • brighton pub on Grosvenor Hotel I will definitely visit this pub atleast once as its a rare pub beacon in the southern suburbs. more
  • Sav on Glenferrie Hotel Hi we have never been to your pub however we are wanting to have a family Easter lunch for approximately 20 people ??One ... more
  • kathy Mcintyre-Davidson on Review: Millers Inn Love the Millers ! Have been away from Melbourne for 20 years and that place still serves the best t-bone steak!! more
  • Kelley on New release movie reviews - November 8 Grant is portrayed as a saint, which is misleading and manipulative. The message this film sends to the black community is ... more
  • kg on New release movie reviews - November 8 I disagree with the review on Fruitvale. Oscar's flaws were obvious and uncomfortable. The manager who denies him his job ... more
  • Heath on REVIEW: Union Hotel Yes. In the union at the moment. Love this place. Not surprised to learn its owned by the same people as the standard. ... more
  • peter michelsz on Ballcourt Hotel can anyone tell me what last weeks pub of the week was 26-7-2013 more
  • Vera on Plough Hotel We enjoyed a lunch at this hotel last weekend, the place was packed (a good sign).Fourteen of us had lovely meals which ... more
  • Bill on Pub of the Week 2013: The search ... Hello Tony,Recently I had the nicest surprise I have ever endured I attended a private function at the Spotswood Hotel well ... more
  • Jeff on Pub of the Week 2013: The search ... Tony, The popular Zorka and Volbi are back at The Orrong Hotel - 709 High st Armadale (they sold North Fitzroy Arms)! Yes, ... more
  • Shane W on Pine Grove Hotel How long have these 2 pubs been on the website? more
  • Bill Graham on Pub of the Week 2013: The search ... You really MUST try The Snug Public House, 68 Sydney Road, Brunswick.... Kim and Michael are building one hell of an eating ... more
  • tony on Lord Newry Hotel we do sunday lunch and i must say the rose hotel was one of the best keep it up more
  • Shane W on Prahran Hotel How come this page hasn't been updated for weeks? Looking forward to more reviews. more
  • IAN on Pub of the Week 2013: The search ... Tony ???Still none in the Pakenham-Dandenong- Cranbourne- Rowville.??area To far for the "MAN" who travels by Train. more
  • michele on Woodlands Hotel Absolutly fabulous pub went there wednesday for a curryand a pot/cider for $15 food great service excellent and decore ... more

The Graham

Posted by: Tony Leonard | 10 December, 2012 - 10:53 AM
The Graham

Pub:                       The Graham
Where:                 97 Graham St., Port Melbourne
Phone:                 9676 2566
Date:                     16 November 2012
Score:                   15.5/20
Internet:              www.thegraham.com.au


The Graham has been held in the highest regard amongst Melbourne pub diners who seek out food and drink at the higher end of the pricing scale.  ( I loathe the term ‘gastro’ and try to avoid at all costs).

For years, I have wanted to sample simply to see,  like the Court House North Melbourne and Grand Richmond,  how the Graham delivers at the high end while still retaining that element of pubiness (no such word) that encourages someone to pop in and have a drink.

On the first of the two elements of the foregoing, the Graham passes in spades and its food, drink and service in the restaurant is first class.

It is the second part that intrigues me because they have a cracking public/wine bar attached to the pub that somehow seems to be a separate entity, rather than part of the front of house.  (A bit like People’s Republic of China and Hong Kong - on second thoughts arguable the worst comparison I have made!!!).

Ok, the Graham still champions the fact it is pub/restaurant and I am happy with that.  Perroni is the tap beer and it was served in a chilled, badged slender glass. ($7.50/330ml). It was excellent and confirmed that they love their beer; I would like though to have more tap options.

You can dine from a tapas menu in the wine bar and choose from at least 20 tastes.  Open later in the day, it is smart, discreet and upmarket.

But all the action is in the brilliantly white, airy restaurant and boy, can they bang out some food with smart, attentive service at a superior level.

Yes, it costs more (putting on the pub price comparative hat - another shocker from me) but putting it all together it makes for a wonderful experience and is on par with the big gastro pub hitters in town.

But as some wise person once said...’the quality remains long after the price is forgotten’.

Entrees:               $20
Mains:                  $38
Desserts:             $16
Wine:                    $40+ good bottles at all pricing points from monstrous, brilliant  list


The conundrum about whether pub or just a restaurant arises when you look at exterior and there are no overt signs of a brand available or a Foxtel sign suggesting a Super 15 game is about to start.

But when you step inside, you know that this special.

The old style pub dining room was transformed years ago and now, replete with the napery, cutlery glassware, you know that the Graham has moved on.  Indeed their dining room is reminiscent of the excellent Grand in Richmond, a former DeBortoli Pub of the Year.

Here’s what I liked most - The Graham makes a rotating lunch offer of 2 courses, glass of wine for $35.

Given the quality, THIS IS A PUB BARGAIN. The package is enhanced with the continuous offer of chilled water and warm home-made bread, all brought to the table.

You start to read the menu and the eyes water - literal and figurative as the menu bedazzles but you see the prices.  But before you go you know the rules, and it is a tough choice between the smoked quail breast, shitake mushroom (21.5)  or truffled spanner crab with salmon (yes) crackling (21.5) as entree.

Mains read equally as impressive; pan fried dory, scallop and smoked eel fondant, white asparagus, miso nage - $38.5, lavender honey glazed duck breast, confit leg, caramelized peach thyme jus - 38.5.

Try those two at home and play fair!!

And then there’s the bargain and you start to choose from the $35 set menu offer which outlines 3 entrees/mains and with a glass of Christmont riesling thrown in, that’s where you head.

The wine list wins too,  as an incorrect assumption is drawn that it has to be expensive.  Not so. Sure you can pay for French vintage and non-vintage, but local heroes like Christmont, Bests, Skillogolee round out around $8.5 per glass.


- Pot Sticker of the day - $16.  Not on the set menu but 4 of the fattest, moist,  jumbo Pork dumplings, with a light soy,  are the best starter.   What a treat!

- The set menu - $35. Entree was pork belly, beans, shallots and roast chilli jam - Crunchy, hot, filling (although it looks small it packs a punch).  Main was a rectangle of char grilled rare atlantic salmon, roasted pumpkin and hazelnut, miso broth. Again slightly smaller, but same result - fantastic.

- Bests Great Western Riesling - $45. Award winning winery, outstanding winemakers, great drop, very fairly priced.


At the end of the day, the Graham has staked its foundations in the Melbourne dining scene and will continue to deliver knockout food and drink under the present ownership.

Unashamedly, the Graham WANTS to be known as a pub doing great food and drink, rather than a restaurant that does beer and wine.

Their offer is excellent, no matter what definition/category you want to place them in.

It is a beauty.

Blog comments Your Say

Post a comment * Mandatory fields