Ela Carte’s glowing Garden State Hotel review
Garden Grill at Garden State Hotel
Where? 101 Flinders St, Melbourne.
‘Pub’ seems something of an understatement when you are describing the Garden State Hotel. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen.
The blokes behind this behemoth have done up the odd pub in their time – the Richmond Club Hotel, Bridge Hotel and Terminus Hotel among them.
But this has got to be the biggest project they’ve taken on. And they’ve pulled it off.
The old Rosati building in Flinders Lane is now a sprawling venue that can hold over 800 people, with three different eating options.
I figured if I was going to put it through its paces, I better turn up for dinner on a Saturday night.
I can tell you now, I wouldn’t have lasted in the public bar section, boy was it loud. Saturday night-pub-loud.
But, wandering through the building into the closed door Garden Grill was another thing entirely. It boasts a classy New York-feel fitout, it’s much quieter, and the staff are top notch.
It’s a pretty simple menu – there shouldn’t be too many cases of ‘analysis paralysis’ for those incapable of making decisions.
To snack, we started with duck parfait with a surprise roasted quince paste on the bottom of the dish, and thin slices of brioche. Gorgeous flavours, super smooth.
The wagyu beef tartare was a revelation ? such a simple dish, I can’t work out how you get so much flavour into it.
Maybe it had something to do with the malt vinegar picked onions, or the quality of the Sher wagyu. Does it matter in the end? It was just lovely.
BBQ Fremantle Octopus only just came a close second to the tartare.
Gorgeously tender, it’s been shocked in hot oil, rested then charred on the barbecue. It’s accompanied by toasted kelp, fermented black garlic and pickled eggplant.
For mains, the roasted pork was perhaps the most tender I’ve tasted, but there was such a lack of jus or sauce it was just didn’t have that pop of flavour that characterised the other dishes.
Wagyu rump cap, on the other hand, was outstanding. Sher wagyu is terrifically tender, seasoned with kampot pepper, cooked perfectly medium rare, sliced and topped with watercress. It’s served atop a stunning ‘mushroom mustard’ that has to be tasted to be believed.
The only negative across all those dishes? They felt a little on the small side to me. The upside of that, of course, is that I had an excuse to order dessert.
Our waiter Sa recommended the chocolate mousse with beetroot and espresso, and I am so very glad that she did. Bloody glorious.
It’s a pub, it’s a grill, it’s a cocktail bar, it’s a kiosk, it’s a courtyard ? either way, Garden State hotel is great option for city wining and dining.