Welcome to Doc Martin's Melbourne residence, where alcoholic tonics are prescribed for suited and booted city slickers to ease them gently into the weekend. Open all day, this European inspired institution on Collins Street is the perfect venue for after work drinks, pre-theatre nibbles or to impress at an important breakfast meeting.
The slick bar offers a super selection of aperitifs and digestifs including a mouth-watering selection of whiskies, and a cocktail menu hosting some rare classics like the Martinez and the gimlet. Bartenders sporting freshly pressed shirts and aprons will also happily serve you a pint of ale or a glass from a considered wine list with a European slant.
With a respectful nod to the building's previous incarnation in the 1800's as Doctor Martin's surgery, the decor is thoughtful and reminiscent of an old apothecary, with vintage-style tiles and mirrored shelving holding the liquor. A visit on a dark autumn lunchtime revealed cosy booths and a log fire, offering a welcome tincture from the torrential rain. Doc Martin's has two outdoor spaces: a large beer garden space at the rear and some rare pavement space on Collins Street at the front. Residents of Paris are adept at pavement perusing and it therefore feels fitting to sit at the Paris End of Collins and watch the world go by while sipping a single origin courtesy of Sydney's Pablo & Rusty.
The menu takes Mediterranean inspiration from Spain, Italy and France. Try the arancini ($8), bruschetta ($4) or jamon and manchego croquettes ($12) with a chilled glass of bubbles to whet the appetite for one of the many meaty delights from the grill — like the confit Bacchus Marsh pork belly ($32) or a classic French steak au poivre ($42). While the focus of the mains is punchy meat and fish dishes, the salads are well-thought through too. In particular the fig, peach and goats cheese ($16) is a beautiful combination of colours and textures, with the crunch of walnuts and a rich balsamic dressing.
Surgery appointments can be made with Doc Martin for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but when we visited on a Friday night straight after work the place was buzzing. Early drinking is prescribed.