BEST OF BRITISH
Classic pub grub and dishes that are a little left of centre delight at this South Melbourne pub with a well-known history of quality fare
O’CONNELL’S is the granddaddy of Melbourne’s gastro-pub scene.
Since the time this South Melbourne stalwart first welcomed a young Greg Malouf into its kitchen around 25 years ago, it’s been a foodfirst venue of renown where the pub business is at the front – parmas, pots and footy tipping – and the (dinner) party is out the back.
Young chef Aaron Starling (last seen at Carlton Wine Room) is the latest to jump onto O’connell’s pans, and is going back to his Brit-focused roots, with fare such as malt vinegar chips, black pudding, cheddar and chutney, and treacle pudding for dessert.
It’s the type of hearty food that’s begging for a pint of Guinness, a roaring fire and nowhere to rush off to. And while there’s pleasure in sticking with the tried and true – soft, creamy, cinnamon-rich black pudding topped with a fried egg is excellent, likewise beef and Guinness pie with buttery mash and split peas – it’s also worth following him when he goes off-piste.
Slices of raw albacore tuna are almost creamy, served alongside pickled grapes and a scattering of crisp ice plant. A main dish of pork is like being pulled into a bear hug by a pipeloving lumberjack, so seriously smoky is the belly and its accompanying crunchy croquette. A charred half of baby gem lettuce dressed in sharp apple vinegar helps cut through the pork.
Skip that treacle pudding, though – it’s crumbly, dry and needs sauce. Instead, polish off that bottle from the list that’s mainly filled with bighitting Aussie names the old-school moneyed crowd is well familiar with.
While some of the dishes are stronger on Instagram than in real life, it’s nonetheless a solid offering and the comfortable, carpeted dining room remains a family favourite.
100g smoked pancetta, rind removed and chopped
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
5 sage leaves, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
400g can diced tomatoes
400g can cherry tomatoes
1L reduced salt chicken stock
400g can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
400g can borlotti beans, rinsed and drained
100g ditalini (or other small pasta)
½ bunch cavolo nero, stalks removed and chopped parsley and grated parmesan to serve Placeover sizzle, minute.and Add garlic mediumthe cookthe Add pancettaand sagefor the heat. cook3-4 and carrot, minutesand Oncefor cook oil 3-4 onion,it forin minutesbeginsuntila a saucepancelery further golden.to untiland10 minutes. chicken softened, stock. then Seasonadd the and tomatoescook for (250ml)Add the water. beans, Bring pastato a and simmer1 cup and cook for 6-8 minutes until pasta is tender. Add the cavolo nero and cook for a further 2 minutes. Season to taste, top with parsley and parmesan, then serve with toasted ciabatta.
NUTRITION • 24G PROTEIN • 3G SAT FAT • 47G CARB • 16G SUGARS • 1815MG SODIUM • 395 CAL (1650KJ)
¼ cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
1kg boneless lamb neck (or shoulder), cut into 3cm pieces
2 carrots, chopped
2 onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, sliced
2 rosemary sprigs, leaves chopped
1L chicken stock
¼ cup (60ml) sherry (or red wine) vinegar
2 desiree potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced on a mandoline
25g unsalted butter, melted
¼ red cabbage, thinly sliced
½ bunch mint, leaves picked
Micro herbs to serve (optional) a large saucepan over medium heat. Add half the lamb, season and cook for 4-5 minutes until browned, then remove from the pan. Repeat with 1 tbs oil and remaining lamb. Remove from the pan. Add the carrot and onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, then add the garlic and rosemary and cook for a further minute until fragrant. Add the stock and 1 tbs vinegar, then return the lamb to the pan. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 30 minutes. for a further 2-3 minutes until thickened, then remove from the heat. Divide the lamb mixture between four ovenproof dishes. Top with potato, then for 30-40 minutes until potato is golden. To make the salad, combine the red cabbage, mint, remaining 1 tbs oil and 2 tbs vinegar. Top lamb hotpots with micro herbs and serve with salad.
• 57G PROTEIN • 15G SAT FAT • 20G CARB • 7G SUGARS • 1250MG SODIUM • 675 CAL (2825KJ)