To mark the coming of winter, the Middle Park Hotel — one of Melbourne's much-loved gastropubs — has welcomed new head chef Sangsub Ha and a Korean-inspired menu.
Ultra-fresh seafood is king on the new menu. For a bona fide Korean experience, go for the platter loaded with slow-cooked pork shoulder, oysters, jalapeño pickle, ssamjanj (a spicy paste) and cos. From this, you can build your own ssam, which involves wrapping up the ingredients in a lettuce leaf. Also on the sharing menu are whitebait with mentaiko mayo and seaweed and Hervey Bay scallops in garlic butter with prawns and crispy leek.
If you're a Middle Park steak groupie, fear not. The pub is far from abandoning its meaty side. The revamped menu features five cuts, a 1.5-kilogram dry-aged ribeye platter and a revamped burger, crowded with a house-made wagyu pattie, beetroot, egg, tomato, gruyere and caramelised onion jus. The same goes for the classics, which have been reimagined under Ha's tenure. If you're keen on bangers and mash, give the pork and fennel sausage with plum-infused semi-dried tomatoes, leek and white pepper mash and duck fat gravy a try. Experimental flavours continue in the dessert portion with berry gazpacho with goat's cheese sorbet and white sangria poached mandarin with liquorice ice cream.
And the vibe at Middle Park is as laidback as ever. "Our new menu is available in the restaurant and the bar because we want to stay as a place where you can come for a casual feed with friends while you watch the footy, as well as somewhere you can celebrate a special occasion...We're still a community pub at the heart of it," says manager Ross Nash.
To give the new menu a try, make a booking over the phone or via Middle Park's website.