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18° & CLOUDY ON SUNDAY 8 DECEMBER IN MELBOURNE
By Roseanne Tiziani
November 12, 2013
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The Grand Hotel Dining Room

A Melbourne gastro-discovery that one can only be shown and not told.
By Roseanne Tiziani
November 12, 2013
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BOOK A TABLE

Despite being the only pub in Melbourne to be awarded one chef hat from The Age Good Food Guide eight years running, The Grand Hotel's dining room is still somewhat of a word-of-mouth secret. It might have to do with subtle, unassuming entry that sits off the hotels lounge bar, or perhaps the opulent silk curtains and dark chocolate walls that hide it away from the rest of the world. But really, The Grand's dining room is a discovery that one can only be shown, and not told.

Private dining in all of its brilliance, The Grand's dining room reminds you why the classics are what they are. Stained glass windows, bentwood chairs and linen tablecloths bring a sense of occasion, with service as cheeky as it is attentive, knowledgeable and friendly. However, do not mistake this endearing luxury — it is named The Grand for a reason, after all — for out of date tastes; with the raucous, infectious noise of fellow diners, this dining room is a contemporary Melburnian's nirvana.

The Grand's elegant Italian fare has earned itself a swathe of accolades over the years, with thanks to a fine dedication to honest, hearty produce. Again, classics are handled with an appreciation and willingness to explore diversity of flavour. The oven-baked hapuka fillet (with Jerusalem artichoke, purple carrot and herb salad; $36) is a stunning mix of high quality ingredients, while the grilled baby chicken (with charred radicchio, artichokes, cherry tomato and black cabbage; $32) is a crowd-pleaser that showcases spatchcock in an innovative light. The Grand's pasta is additionally made in-house and changes daily, with the pumpkin tortellini with pepitas, parmesan, butter and sage ($18) a stand out.

A visit here is not complete without experiencing the The Grand's infamous bombolini, which are unlike any you'll experience elsewhere in the city. A dessert that holds the unique ability to remain loved despite endless variation, these Italian doughnuts are filled with ricotta pastry cream and can be finished with anything from pistachio ice cream and orange, to homemade honeycomb and caramel ($16). It'll depend on the timing of your visit, but there will be no disappointment.

The Grand Hotel's dining room highlights how well the gastro-pub concept can succeed. Step inside and you'll be hard pressed to remember you're in the middle of suburban Richmond, such is the atmosphere of passion and excitement. Enjoy the finest Italian delicacies and a memorable experience.

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