The Star Hotel in Clarendon St, South Melbourne, began its life in 1854, when there was a pub on every street corner. AC/DC and Nick Cave played there in it’s heyday as a grungy rock venue, in the late 70’s, early 80’s. Fast forward to 2015, and the blacked out windows are no more, instead The Star Hotel is a light filled, revamped modern pub, with an indoor vertical plant wall, living palm trees, a state of the art sound system, giant copper tanks that can hold up to 2000L of icy cold Carlton beer, a rooftop lawn area perfect for a spot of bocce and a menu that can rival the best pub fare in Melbourne.
Chef Danny Callen (formerly of The Post, St Kilda) and his team have assembled a solid menu of fine quality produce along with classic pub fare. Portion sizes from entree to main are generous and are shared with friends. Aussie pub grub is generally rated on the standard of the classic Chicken Parma, and the Star Hotel’s version is top shelf. The thick, juicy, mammoth chicken breast, topped with a generous amount of napoli sauce and ham smothered in melted cheese, accompanied by some killer crispy fries, and a side salad $25 is unbelievably good and worth crossing town for.
Earlier, entrees are shared amongst friends and all dishes are executed with finesse. A standout is the Yellow Fin Tuna Ceviche on Soba Noodle salad with squid ink aioli $18. Freshly shucked oysters with french mignonette $16 are briny and sweet and hit the spot, while the Pulled Chipotle Pork Sliders with coleslaw and chilli aioli $15 are addictive, and pair nicely with the crisp, fresh unpasteurised Carlton beer on tap. Tasty Southern Fried Chicken Wings, slaw and achiote aioli $13 match perfectly with the beer too. Another perfect accompaniment to the Carlton brew are the moreish Szechuan Chilli Prawns with Lime Dipping Sauce $13. A welcomed meat free option are the Goats Cheese Stuffed Tempura Fried Zucchini Flowers on a Micro Herb Salad. The batter is crispy and light and the goats cheese is rich and creamy. A refreshing Ancient Grain Salad with pomegranate seeds and fresh herbs $18 proves a welcome respite from the meaty morsels. A cheese board and charcuterie board of the day are also on offer daily $25 respectively.
Mains consist of traditional pub favourites and modern options such the House Made Gnocchi with roasted Heirloom Tomatoes, Asparagus, Broad Beans and Black Garlic $22. A hearty and healthy dish, the fresh asparagus and broad beans offsetting the gnocchi, and roasted tomatoes bursting with juice forming a sauce.
The food is so tasty, fresh and filling that you could choose any meal off the menu and go home sated.
My gastronomic journey of gargantuan proportions sadly came to end with dessert. The Passionfruit and mixed Berry Eton Mess $12 is the chef’s choice and has the perfect balance of crunch in the meringue, cream for richness and fruit segments to add sharpness. The Dark Chocolate Fondant, Cherry Compote, Caramel Ice cream and Hazelnut tuille $15 is right up there in the taste stakes too.
For fine pub dining al fresco in the roof top upstairs, in the bistro or in one of the comfy booths indoors, look no further than The Star Hotel.
160 CLARENDON STREET
T. (03) 9682 6288
OPEN 11.30AM till late
7 DAYS A WEEK
KITCHEN OPEN 12PM UNTIL THE EARLY HOURS
Photos by Blush Images
Anna-Maria Megalogenis was a guest of The Star Hotel and shared the serious amount of food with friends. She had to be rolled out of the pub.