What we ate:
Prawn wrapped in zucchini and pancetta, lemon mash, sauce verge
Yellow fin tuna "crudo", w' spicy tuna and beetroot tartare
Arancini of duck, porcini, salad of witlof, shallot and orange
Taglierini with seafood, olive oil, garlic and chili
Fried potato, garlic and rosemary
Pavlova roulade, mixed berry salad, amaretto, raspberry sorbet
Mauri taleggio: doc washed rind, cow milk artisan-italy aged 6 weeks
2010 Dr Loosen Riesling, Mosel, Germany
The Town Hall Hotel sits quietly on Johnston Street. It’s easy to mistake from the outside as being similar to its less salubrious cousins in the area, but the inside is a different story - offers a homely bar and bistro and lovely dark, rich spaces.
We arrived a little late (after a quick spin at the nearby Naked for Satan), but alas, our table wasn’t quite ready and we settled in for a quick drink at the bar. A wee while passed before we pressed for our table, and were told that it was ready whenever we were. An odd start to the night, but we were lead happily through to the bistro.
It should be noted at the outset that the bistro staff were very helpful and accommodating, dealing with our millions of questions and enquiries with aplomb. We settled on three ‘small plates’ - the tuna ‘crudo’, the duck and porcini arancini and the prawns in zucchini and pancetta. All three were beautifully presented and delicious – so much so that TFG struggled to pick a favourite.
The tuna crudo:
Prawns (rear) and duck arancini (front):
Less hungry groups of two could probably get away with ordering less and leave quite satisfied, however, TFG was starving and also gobbled two plates of the taglierini, which offered generous amounts of seafood tossed simply in olive oil:
And then finally, dessert! Sweet tooth TFG1 opted for the pavlova roulade upon recommendation of the waiter and was not disappointed – light meringue wrapped around a creamy centre and topped with fresh berries and sorbet. TFG 2 opted for the taleggio (unfortunately the dessert and cheese dishes are sans photo, as they were both scoffed the minute they landed on the table).
At around $100 per head, Town Hall Hotel is probably a tad more expensive than most standard pub fare, however, the food is well beyond most gastro pubs and the ambience was excellent (not a drunken footy fan in sight).
How TFG scores:
Food – out of ten
Value – out of five
Service – out of five
Town Hall Hotel
Food – 8
Value – 2.5
Service – 4.5
Total – 15/20
166 Johnston Street Fitzroy