Hobsons Bay Hotel
This bayside boozer has an ex-Supernormal chef, house-made doughnuts and hot chook rolls.
Rooftop season has arrived and with it comes a brand-new sky-high drinking spot, complete with views across both the bay and the city. This one (sunny, openair space) sits atop the newly revamped Hobsons Bay Hotel — the latest venture from the mind behind Rustica Sourdough, Brenton Lang. Along with partners Drew Gibbs and Matt Cook, Land has transformed the former site of George Calombaris' Hellenic Hotel into a three-storey neighbourhood pub for the bayside suburb of Williamstown.
Inside, a dapper fit-out by Fiona Drago gives a warm, elegant nod to the building's past, fusing custom-made tartan carpets, tan leather banquettes and splashes of green. A lofty ground-floor dining room centres around the open kitchen, while one level up, you'll find a private dining space and wraparound balcony overlooking the street. Venture further for the crowning glory: a roomy rooftop deck complete with its own bar and space for up to 100 people.
With Head Chef Ben Pigott (formerly Supernormal, Cumulus Inc and Stokehouse) heading up the kitchen, you can expect big things from the venue's offering of polished Aussie pub classics. Heroing an impressive woodfire grill and rotisserie, the kitchen is plating up both a brasserie-style menu and a selection of more casual public bar eats. Hit either for elegant snacks and shares, like the crisp fried artichokes ($12) teamed with celery salt and romesco sauce, fish finger sandwiches ($10) and, of course, some Rustica sourdough ($6) served with cultured butter.
In the dining room, you'll find yourself sitting down to the likes of a half rotisserie chicken ($32) with salsa verde and roast chook sauce, a side of charred heirloom zucchini ($14) finished with stracciatella, or one of three premium steak options ($36–90). That rotisserie is turning out more meaty delights come the weekend — porchetta on Saturdays and roast beef on Sundays (both market price_ — and for dessert, expects treats like the house-made doughnuts ($12) with rum custard and pineapple jam. Otherwise, keep it casual and pair a few pints with the likes of a cheeseburger ($21), hot chook roll ($16), or dukkah-roasted cauliflower steak ($19) with smoked hummus and fried capers.
Brews from Balter and Cricketers Arms star throughout the 11-strong tap list, backed by an expansive selection of vino. Up on the roof, however, it's all about the tap wines and cocktails, including espresso martinis and margaritas to enjoy alongside the view.
Images: Kate Shanasy