Healthy Eating

We're championing fresh food that packs a flavour punch, from salads and vegetable-packed bowls to grains and light desserts.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller and receive a copy of Nordic Light - offer ends 23 April 2017.

Gourmet digital

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad or Android tablet.

Gourmet Institute is back for 2017
29.03.2017

Fire-up the stove, tie on your favourite apron and let’s get cooking, food fans. This year’s line-up is brimming with talent.

The Royal Mail Hotel is changing
28.03.2017

Executive chef Robin Wickens has a stronger influence at the Royal Mail Hotel's upcoming restaurant, slated to open later this year.

Adventuring along America's north-west rivers
28.03.2017

The rivers of America's north-west running through Washington state and Oregon form the arteries of epic landscapes and bold discovery routes. Emma Sloley follows in the wake of Lewis and Clark.

The World's Best sommeliers are coming to Australia
28.03.2017

For the first time, the world's top international sommeliers will take part in the World's 50 Best Awards too.

Seven Italian dishes that shaped fine dining in the 2000s
28.03.2017

Italian food in the restaurants of Australia blossomed into maturity in the new millennium, as the work of these trailblazers shows – dazzling and diverse, a successful balance between adaptation and tradition.

Steam ovens: a guide
27.03.2017

Billed as the faster, cleaner way to cook, are these on-trend ovens all they’re cracked up to be? We take a close look at their rising popularity, USP versus the traditional convection cooker and how each type rates in terms of form, function, and above all, flavour in this buyer’s guide.

Our chocolate issue is out now
27.03.2017

Our April issue is out now. In his editor's letter, Pat Nourse walks you through what to expect.

Roast pork with Nelly Robinson
27.03.2017

Nelly Robinson of Sydney's nel. restaurant talks us through his favourite roasting joints, tips for crisp roast potatoes and why, when it comes to pork, slow and steady always wins the race.

Fast autumn dinners

Autumn weather signals the arrival of soups, broths, roasts and more hearty meals.

Flour and Stone Recipes

Baker extraordinaire Nadine Ingram of Sydney's Flour and Stone cooks up a sweet storm for Easter, including the much loved bakery's greatest hit.

Roasted cauliflower salad with yoghurt dressing and almonds

The cauliflower is roasted until it starts to caramelise, which adds extra depth of flavour to this winning salad. Serve it warm or at room temperature.

All Star Yum Cha

What happens the morning after the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards? We treat the chefs to a world-beating yum cha session, as Dani Valent discovers.

Melbournes finest meet Worlds Best

Leading chefs descend on Melbourne in April for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. We asked local hospitality folk who they’d abduct for the day and where they’d take them to show off their city. There may be coffee, there may be culture, but in the end it’s cocktails.

Lemon tart

It's really important to seal the pastry well to prevent any seepage during cooking, and to trim the pastry soon after cooking. Let the tart cool in the tin before removing it, or it will crack.

1980s recipes

Australia saw some bold moves in the ’80s, and we’re not just talking hairstyles. Greater cultural references started peppering the menus of our restaurants, and home-grown ingredients won a new appreciation. The dining scene was coming of age and a new band of pioneers led the charge.

Savoury tarts

Will your next baking project be a flaky puff pastry with pumpkin, goat's curd and thyme, or a classic bacon and Stilton tart? As autumn settles in, we're ticking these off one by one.

Newmarket Hotel, Melbourne restaurant review

The Newmarket is the latest in a family of pubs that have Paul Wilson’s full-flavoured stamp on the menu. Its funky retro fit-out and Cal-Mex food spell good fun, writes Michael Harden.

If there's a series of pubs owned by the same guys, renovated using the same architects and employing the same chef as "creative director", does that make it a chain? It's a question worth contemplating now that St Kilda's Newmarket Hotel has joined a stable that includes the Middle Park, Albert Park and Royal Saxon Hotels, closely following a template that's seen its predecessors make conspicuous successes of themselves.

And while the formula - Julian Gerner, co-owner, and Mark Healy, a director at Six Degrees architects, the firm responsible for the group's fit-outs, teaming up with Paul Wilson, who oversees all the kitchens except the Royal Saxon's - can certainly sound like a chain, the reality is altogether different. These places seem more like cousins than clones.

The Newmarket is the least restaurant-y of the Gerner/Healy/Wilson collaborations; it's the younger, hipper member of the family. Where the Albert Park is all about seafood with a Spanish bent and the Middle Park loves its British/European meat, the Newmarket takes its attitude, flavour and design cues (even its aural ones, if the Eagles and Chicago-laced soundtrack is any indication) from the west coast of the US.

Californian-Mexican, or Cal-Mex if you want to sound more au fait, is the label for what the Newmarket is doing. It's a good one to adopt right now, not only tapping into the burgeoning love for all things South and Central American but allowing for a degree of flexibility you wouldn't get if you slapped the Mexican label on yourself. Cal-Mex restaurants in cities such as San Francisco certainly embrace Mexico and South America but they also bring Spanish and Italian flavours into the fold. It makes for a pretty broad canvas.

Still, Wilson is not a chef to fudge his influences and he has a firm grasp of what makes Cal-Mex tick. Direct your attention to the salad section of the Newmarket's menu, for example, and you'll get a good indication of how things roll.

Salads can be ordered as entrées or main courses and they present as meals, not sides. The chopped Mexican salad, a kind of Latin American take on the Caesar with its salty, cheesy, creamy dressing flavoured mainly with queso fresco (a sort of crumbly, brined ricotta) and its crunchy refreshing mix of iceberg, cactus, radish, tomato and jicama, gives off an unmistakably Baja Californian vibe, while another small classic that mixes slices of ripe figs with purple basil, mint and a fat, creamy burrata shows how easily the Italian side of things fits into the Newmarket agenda.

Ease is one of this pub's mantras and it starts with the Six Degrees renovation. As with the Royal Saxon, the only part of the original Newmarket building left standing is its façade. Get past the over-officious, clipboard-wielding door staff standing guard and you walk into a pleasant outdoor beer garden that continues down one side of the new structure as an alfresco dining room. In classic Six Degrees style, the outside is connected to the inside by a series of large glass windows that flip up when the weather is sympathetic.

The large central bar, all '70s-chanelling cream and brown bricks, serves both this outside area and an inside bar area that has raised bench tables and stools. Running along the other side of the bar is the main dining area, defined by a series of concrete arches, tartan picnic blanket-patterned carpet, bare timber tables and super-comfortable upholstered swivelling bucket seats. At the back, near the kitchen, is a chef's table that seats 16 people.

It's an open airy space that feels completely flexible. Being the work of Six Degrees, it's dotted with recycled and retro flourishes like the hilarious wallpaper in the dining room depicting businessmen cavorting with a gaggle of scantily clad women. The music is loud, the staff mostly young and enthusiastic and the sightlines great for scoping the room. The longer you spend in the place, the more the California-house-party vibe takes hold.

Of course that could be the cocktails - fruity, thirst-quenching summery drinks that the Newmarket makes by the glass or the pitcher are given equal billing with an extensive list of tap beer and an inexpensive all-barrel, all-Victorian wine list available by the glass or in two different sizes of carafe. Drink what you like, it seems to say, don't take it too seriously. It's a good template for how to eat here as well.

The menu is as flexible as the space, so it's as easy to structure a three-course meal as to whack a whole bunch of plates (or boards and wooden bowls as is more often the case) into the middle of the table for a communal feast.

There are rich hamburger-like morcilla bocadillos, with the slice of rich blood sausage joining crisp jamón, fried quail egg and piquillo peppers on skewered, barbecued ciabatta, or corn cobs grilled in their husks so they are steamed soft (too much so in some cases) before being tossed with sour cream flavoured with smoked paprika and cumin and sprinkled with queso fresco.

Tacos are a highlight: soft, slightly chewy, spot-charred little circles made in-house with masa harina flour and cooked on the flat grill. There's one with prawn pieces, guacamole and jicama with a sparky dressing of tart tomatillos and lime juice all topped with Thai basil and coriander. Another features tempura-battered Balmain bug meat, an Asian-style coleslaw with lime leaf and green mango and a hearty charred pineapple salsa with chilli, Spanish onions and lime keeping the power factor high. The texture balances - soft chewy taco, tangy salad crunch, creamy guacamole - are all big fun.

The rock-star taco turn comes with a wood-roasted bone marrow number, a sort of Fergus Henderson goes south of the border concoction: two tacos nursing a salad of parsley, coriander and jalapeño topped with sour cream, split bone marrow smeared with chimichurri mixed with emulsified herbs so it looks like a salsa verde, and a small dish of "ranchero style" wagyu brisket, with tender meat chunks in a rich, chocolaty, chilli-infused mole sauce. Assembled, it's classic Wilson: volume turned to 11, as brilliant as it's big-flavoured.

More big meaty flavours take the form not only of cuts from the six-strong steak menu and the rotisserie (anything from rare-breed lamb to goat), but also of the Southern barbecue moves of the St Louis-cut pork ribs. Cooked "low and slow", this classic slab of ribs is rubbed down with spices then slow-cooked in a spicy/citrusy tomato-based sauce that's further reduced before being served over the top as "Mr Wilson's barbecue sauce". It comes with a sprinkling of crushed peanuts and an excellent apple coleslaw.

The wood-roasted chicken, a Milawa free-range number that's been poached in chicken stock and finished in the oven, arrives moist, glistening and nestled among a warm salad of sweet corn, croûtons, tomatoes and pancetta. The salad is chopped into small pieces so each mouthful is a crunchy/salty/sweet/juicy fiesta in your mouth.

The party continues with desserts that take the Cal-Mex concept and run with it. There's fruit, there's tequila, there's chocolate and there's dulce de leche on the list, one of the best combos being a moscato jelly infused with cinnamon and vanilla and studded with fresh berries, combined with a zesty tequila and lime (aka Margarita) sorbet and crushed meringue.

You can have so much flexible, cocktail-infused, shared-plate, indoor-outdoor fun at the Newmarket that it's easy to overlook what a tightly constructed, clever concept this is. Undoubtedly this pub has benefited from the experiences of Gerner, Wilson et al at previous ventures, but despite that chain-like lineage, there's no whiff of production line. If the Newmarket Hotel is an example of a chain restaurant for the here and now, bring it on.


Newmarket Hotel

34 Inkerman St, St Kilda, (03) 9537 1777,
www.newmarketstkilda.com.au
Licensed.
Cards AE DC MC V EFT.
Open Daily noon-3pm & 6pm-10pm. Bar food noon-11pm.
Prices Entrées $12-$22; mains $25-$55; desserts $14.
Vegetarian Two small courses, four main course salads.
Noise Elevated.
Wheelchair access Yes.
Plus An interesting and timely concept, skilfully, thoughtfully realised.
Minus Door staff with attitude.

Newmarket Hotel

34 Inkerman St, St Kilda, (03) 9537 1777,
www.newmarketstkilda.com.au
Licensed.
Cards AE DC MC V EFT.
Open Daily noon-3pm & 6pm-10pm. Bar food noon-11pm.
Prices Entrées $12-$22; mains $25-$55; desserts $14.
Vegetarian Two small courses, four main course salads.
Noise Elevated.
Wheelchair access Yes.
Plus An interesting and timely concept, skilfully, thoughtfully realised.
Minus Door staff with attitude.

GT
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
Recipe collections

Looking for ways to make the most out of seasonal produce? Want to find a recipe perfect for a party? Or just after fresh ideas for dessert? Either way, our recipe collections have you covered.

See more
2017 Restaurant Guide

Our 2017 Restaurant Guide is online, covering over 400 restaurants Australia wide. Never wonder where to dine again.

See more

You might also like...

The dishes that define Melbourne dining in 2016

For our 50th anniversary issue in 2016, we scoured Australia...

Melbourne’s Rosa’s Kitchen has closed

A kitchen fire has forced Rosa Mitchell’s Punch Lane restaur...

David’s

David's hums with renewed energy since its transformation t...

Ladro Greville

Overdue a Roman holiday? With its well-groomed, Aperol-swig...

San Telmo

The number of all-male tables at San Telmo is an instant gi...

Akachochin

Unlike the tumbleweed territory of Docklands, there's a sun...

Cafe Di Stasio

Cafe Di Stasio represents the ideal of dining as a particul...

Cicciolina

Timelessness. It's not, perhaps, a quality one automaticall...

Cookie

The elegantly dishevelled Curtin House is a multifaceted ve...

Bacash

From sourcing to saucing, Michael Bacash marries an intuiti...

Bar Lourinha

Turning 10 has added spring to Bar Lourinha's step. Not tha...

Bellota

Expect to be seduced by Bellota. This Europhile wine bar's ...

Bistro Gitan

Gitan means gypsy but there's nothing itinerant about the m...

Dandelion

Once upon a time Elwood locals would have to hike across to...

Dainty Sichuan

The Dainty Sichuan fleet continues to expand, but the South...

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

×