Last Friday, a group of us got together for a friend’s birthday drinks at the new-ish Newmarket Hotel. The Newmarket pitches itself as a ‘tastes of California’ bar/restaurant with a cheeky wink to Mexico. First thing to note: it’s more of a restaurant than a bar. Unless you have managed to book a table for dinner (my friend emailed during the week but didn’t get a reply), there’s nowhere to sit inside. Outside, there’s a great open-air area with tables and benches (very Royal Saxon Hotel – same designers) – however it was a little chilly, even with the outdoor heaters on (but will be great in the summer!).
Secondly, the wine is on tap. Which is kind of weird. Don’t ask me how the wine is stored, but you buy it by the ounce (note to young players: 34 oz is a litre) and it’s served in a carafe. Our Yarra Valley pinot noir felt kind of like cask wine at first – but it tasted good and kept us warm. (Will have to try the sparkling wine on tap next time – by the litre!)
The dinner crowd cleared by about 10.30pm, so two hours and a litre of red later, we were seated inside. Time for some cocktail jugs! We ordered a pitcher of the ‘Straight Outta Spritzville’, which was a very tasty concoction of aperol, grapefruit vodka, rhubarb liqueur, passionfruit, lemon, bitters and sparkling grapefruit.
We’d already eaten dinner, but the menu looked so good we were tempted into ordering snacks – nachos (note: very light tortilla chips, super fresh guacomole and salsa with a bit of kick) and a very delicious platter of goat’s cheese with quince and candied walnuts.
For dessert, my friend – the birthday girl – chose the cheesecake with tequila and lime sorbet. In a grand gesture of birthday benevolence, she kindly let me have a little sample (refer to pic below) – very tasty.
However, by that stage, I was somewhat preoccupied with my own dessert – a chocolate and macadamia pie, with kahlua ice cream and some extremely more-ish slices of caramalised banana on top. It’s a very decent dessert – do not share. Instead, take a piece of banana, a scoop of ice cream and a spoonful of the mousse-like chocolate filling underneath – and repeat.
Then, wash it all down with another huge pitcher of drinks (sharing allowed).
34 Inkerman Street, St Kilda