Thursday, May 5, 2016

Pablo Honey, St Kilda (by invitation) by Benny

A lot of people think that Pablo Honey (the St Kilda bar and restaurant) is named after the first album released by grunge rock group Radiohead. According to part-owner Brad Jones, Radiohead has nothing to do with it (sorry, Radiohead fans): ‘Pablo’ was chosen as a popular and catchy South American name; and ‘Honey’ for the colour of really good tequila. Pablo Honey (the restaurant) brings a taste of South America to St Kilda, and matches it with really good tequila. Brad is passionate about tequila, claiming most Australians have tasted only the cheap stuff. Pablo Honey has grown out of the owners’ fond memories of London’s tequila bars – an experience they are bringing to Melbourne.

Pablo Honey, Fitzroy, Brazilian milk pudding
Brazilian milk pudding

Honeycomb shelves displaying dozens of extravagantly decorated plaster human skulls capture your attention as you enter Pablo Honey, referencing the Mexican holiday, the Day of the Dead. Tear your eyes away and you’ll find yourself in a modern and attractive bar and restaurant. Elegant room dividers continue the honeycomb theme, subtly creating a series of friendly dining spaces. One area provides comfy couches and coffee tables for the more laid-back diners. Couples and groups of friends are clearly welcome here.

The drinks menu is quite extensive, including wines, beers, South American-themed cocktails and no less than two pages of tequilas ranging in price up to an astronomical $200 per shot. Does anyone ever indulge in those $200 tequila shots? They sure do – and are immortalised on an ever expanding honour board. While no non-alcoholic beverages are listed, our waitress Isabella assures us that the bartenders are up for just about any request, including mocktails.

But Bilby Blue and I have been invited to Pablo Honey to review its new food menu, so that’s enough about the drinks.

Pablo Honey, Fitzroy, Bar
The bar

The food at Pablo Honey is strongly influenced by South American cuisine, differentiating it quite nicely from the multitude of Mexican restaurants around Melbourne. The modern trend towards sharing is embraced and the menu offers only share plates – small and large. Meat and seafood dominate – only two dishes have vegetarian main ingredients, but even these contain meat.

Isabella enthusiastically takes us through the menu, recommending a mix of her favourites and the most popular dishes. We decide to sample only the new dishes, and choose four small plates and one large, having been assured that this is plenty of food for two.

Pablo Honey, chorizo and cheese fundido
Chorizo and cheese fundido (with hickory cornchips) is a tasty variation on the standard plate of corn chips drizzled with melted cheese, and is full of flavour. Slightly reminiscent of a Swiss fondue, the cheesy, meaty dip is kept hot over a tealight lantern and the hickory cornchips are a class above the standard cornchip.

Pablo Honey,  foraged mushrooms
Escabeche of foraged mushrooms, with cress, jamon and pinon (pinenuts), is a delightful mushroom salad that has been marinated in a refreshing, acidic dressing.

Pablo Honey,  prawn and crab moqueca
Prawn and crab moqueca, with coconut, tomato and coriander, is a chilli seafood stew, the lively sauce balanced beautifully so that it enhances rather than overwhelms the seafood. It is the standout dish of the night.

Pablo Honey,  venison cheeks
Venison cheeks, in chocolate mole, and almonds, are slow cooked and meltingly tender, with slices of morcilla (blood sausage). The chocolate mole sauce is thick and dark, combining lusciously with the venison. It is a lot milder than we expected, with no discernible chilli heat.

Pablo Honey, BBQ ancho roast duck
Our large share plate is the BBQ ancho roast duck, served with relleno pepper salsa and coriander habanero pebre. Spicy, juicy and perfectly cooked, the salsa and pebre are great accompaniments. It is marvellous.

As we are taking our reviewing responsibilities seriously, we determine to sample the desserts as well. Brazilian milk pudding (berries, coconut, lemon and meringue) is a lovely, sweet slab of a firmish crème caramel, well complemented by the sweet/acid lemon and tiny crunchy meringues (see first photo).

Pablo Honey, chocolate sponge
Chocolate sponge (sweet soured cream, coffee and sweetened condensed milk) is a deconstructed sponge with a generous serve of bitter dark chocolate soil. Mmmm.

Pablo Honey

Pablo Honey


We loved it
We loved it and would be happy to return.


Pablo Honey is a great place for drinks and food with friends. It has already established itself as a popular ‘local’ for nearby residents and is developing a menu that matches its food with its great range of tequilas. Hopefully the next step in its menu evolution will be to embrace other South American classics such as corn (chargrilled with lime, formed into humitas or arepas, or as corncakes enveloping lots of different fillings), avocado and quinoa. Then I will be able to recommend it to my vegetarian friends as well.

Find it at

Pablo Honey
68A Acland Street
St Kilda Vic 3182
Phone (03) 8658 3127

Pablo Honey Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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