36-42 Courtney St, North Melbourne
Phone: 9328 4222
I like pubs which put the word ‘Hotel’ first in their name. There’s something vaguely Franco-phoney about it, and also, it reminds me of that karaoke classic Hotel California.
A few of my colleagues and I had a farewell lunch for Ms S late last year at the Hotel Metropolitan. I’d been there only once before, for a beer and to watch the Melbourne Cup. That’s a whole other story, but basically I knew the place was a relatively upscale pub. I’d only been in the bar side of it, however. I hadn’t seen that there’s also a large, airy, genteel dining room off to the side.
The walls are covered with inoffensive (read neutral) artwork and botany illustrations, and I could imagine sitting down to a Devonshire tea in the setting quite easily. Except there’s a lack of soft furnishings in the room, so it gets a little bit echo-ey. Anyway, the service definitely matches the setting – attentive, polite, and just a touch on the cool side of friendly. All in all, pretty good.
Ms S and I both ordered the chicken Parmigiana, and were a little taken aback when it arrived. It was massive! So big that they couldn’t avoid placing it on top of the bed of chips (it’s a pet peeve of mine when pubs do that, because it makes it hard to cut the parma without mushing the chips below, and so then I have to move everything around on the plate, and it all gets a bit OCD). The napoli was full of tomato-ey zing, and the cheese was just starting to go golden brown. Definitely one of the better parmas I’ve had in recent times.