Thursday, December 2, 2010

Napier Hotel, Fitzroy by Ruby Grapefruit

Everyone should have a local like the Napier. It would be great to live within walking distance of this pub with its good food and lovely community vibe. So it was a great choice for the Eat and Be Merry crew, friends and family who met to celebrate its 100th Melbourne post on a wet Saturday afternoon.

We were all impressed by the range of dishes on the menu board and were surprised to learn that these were just the specials. A large range of more traditional pub meals was also available on the regular menu.

Foghorn Leghorn enjoyed his roasted duck breast and confit duck leg served with roasted kipfler potatoes, dutch carrots and truss baby tomatoes. This was definitely the fanciest of all the dishes we ordered and a class above the usual pub fare.

The crispy caramelised pork hock with mash and braised red cabbage was also a big hit. The meat was tender and fell away from the bone, however it wasn’t really that crispy on the outside. BLG said that he would definitely order this dish again.

Snooze opted for the chickpea curry served with papadums, pilau and roti and was happy with how well seasoned and very tasty the dish was ... quite unlike vegetable-based dishes at places with a mainly meat menu. The only complaint about this dish was that the papadums were served underneath the curry so they went soggy.

The crispy skin barramundi was a popular choice with three people in our group ordering it. The fish was served with mango salsa, potato salad, and cos salad. The strange thing was that two of us loved our dish and thought it was perfect. The third person was served overcooked fish with skin that was definitely not crispy. Obviously there was a problem with consistency.

There were some dishes that didn’t really impress. The calamari was bland.

The steak sandwich had good quality bread but the steak was a little overcooked.

The pork belly with confit kipfler potatoes, roasted shallots, and baby carrots was just average. The pork had a little too much fat, the top was not crispy and the sauce wasn’t tasty enough. The vegetables however were good.

And now to dessert. Most of us were too full so there was only one dessert ordered – the hot chocolate pudding. We could smell it as it made its way from the kitchen and the reality didn't let us down. It was beautifully crunchy on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside. Most of us had a spoonful and can confirm that it was delicious.

The d├ęcor has just enough quirky elements to offset the grunge. The service was quite good and the staff knowledgeable about the food. Most of the people in our group enjoyed their meals with only a few who were disappointed. The serving sizes were generous and the dishes were very reasonably priced. I think most of us would be happy to return.

Ambience – 7
Food – 8
Service – 8
Price – 9

210 Napier St, Fitzroy
Tel: 9419 4240

Napier Hotel on Urbanspoon
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