407 Coventry Street, South Melbourne, Vic
03 9810 0086
The iconic O’Connell’s Hotel has reached one impressive milestone: 140 years of trade, beers and good times.
Situated away from the bustle of South Melbourne Market, the stately white pub sits on the corner of Coventry and Montague Streets. It’s a home away from home for its Carlton Draught-drinking regulars, and a destination in its own right for the weekend crowds, who flock to the streetside courtyard in the warmer months.
The venue rose to prominence in the early 1990s, when Greg Malouf was the head chef. O’Connell’s has since led the way in diverting customer’s expectations of the pub experience from one of parmas and pints to innovative cuisine and fine wine.
Mid-week bar specials provide the perfect remedy for weary office workers. A single $20 bill will get you a ‘steak and grape’ on Mondays, a decent 250g porterhouse with thick-cut chips and salad and a glass of red to wash it down.
For those seeking something a little more formal, take a seat in the dining room, where classic pub grub is elevated with a little fine dining flair. Start off with freshly shucked Coffin Bay oysters with red wine and shallot vinaigrette or a charcuterie board to share.
If you don’t fancy a steak from the grill for mains, try the Balmain bug tail risotto, with saffron and chilli croutons. Pillow soft gnocchi is accompanied with asparagus puree, goat’s cheese and dehydrated cherry tomatoes. The famous beef and Guinness pie is a long-standing menu item, and for good reason. Served in a ceramic dish with creamy parmesan mash, it’s the ultimate comfort food.
Finish on a sweet note with a classic sticky date pudding or gooey chocolate fondant with coconut milk gelato. With twelve beers on tap, and an extensive wine list to boot, rest assured you won’t run dry.
While the food has always been a little bit fancy, the beauty of the venue is that the atmosphere is relaxed and the service laidback yet efficient. With 140 years under its belt, there’s no wonder it continues to be a South Melbourne staple.
Words by Allyse Wafer