Located on South Wharf, The General Assembly is brought to you by the good people of Matilda Bay Brewing Company, and is the only venue outside the brewery itself to stock all of the Matilda Bay beers on tap. The clean, open space is filled with with long wooden tables and an inventive beer bottle light fixture makes the venue a pretty prime location to sample a few beers by the river — and while you're there you should definitely grab something off the menu.
Matilda Bay is the brewery that brought you Fak Yak, Beez Neez, Alpha Pale Ale and other staple Australian craft brews. If you can't decide what to drink, they do beer tasting paddles which includes 5 glasses for $16. For those of you who are well acquainted with the Matilda Bay selection already, don't fret, they also stock one-off seasonal beers on tap, as well as other bottled local and international ones. If wine is more to your taste, they've carefully selected wines that are 'minimal intervention', which includes biodynamic, organic and preservative-free drops. Their beer taps are really interesting here — arranged lightest to darkest, the taps are transparent so you can actually see the colour of the beer before it starts pouring.
The menu appears uncomplicated, with each dish focusing on few ingredients to make the most of excellent produce. It's part of the simple but effective philosophy going at The General Assembly, and it makes for tasty and satisfying fare. The prawn bun with cos and Marie Rose sauce ($10), is a nice way to kick things off if you just want something small off the snack menu.
The fiore di burrata ($12) was one of the more intriguing smaller dishes we've had in a while, with an interesting mix of flavours and textures. Baby cos is drizzled in a creamy anchovy dressing, and the delicate burrata is surrounded by stronger flavours of liquorice and candied olives. The anchovy doesn't overpower the dish, allowing everything on the plate to have a distinct taste, while still working well together. Candied olives sound a bit unusual but, let us warn you, they're addictive.
For something a little larger that's ideal for sharing, try something from the Josper grill, which is a hybrid of a charcoal grill and an oven. We can vouch for the whole snapper, which is wonderfully cooked and covered with capers, lemon and beurre noisette, with a side of a refreshing watercress and fennel salad ($32). As with this dish, the beers on tap and the simple aesthetic of this riverside pub, The General Assembly comes out as a winner with their keep things simple approach. This venue will be quite the crowd pleaser this summer.