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Published March 5th 2016
home to cheesy burgers and hot chicken
Catchy name! But perhaps a bit misleading? Make no mistake, for this ain't a Playboy Mansion of any sort, but a very relaxed and cosy American bar in South Yarra!
Leonard's House of Love enjoys a sweet spot tucked away on Wilson Street off the main Chapel Street. It claims to be a Dive Bar, some digging around yielded that's what local watering holes are called! So prices are far more reasonable than some of the other bars in the South Yarra precinct.
We had to wait at least 20 minutes on a balmy Saturday evening before we could step in. "Highly surprising" someone said, well surely the word's getting around! It felt as though we were going into a house party. From the outside it did look like a big house; large crowds on the courtyard drinking beer and having a jolly good time.
First off, the ambience makes a striking impact as you walk in. Stepping inside, you see the bar counter and next to it is a very cosy 'living room' sort of corner with an old unused fireplace and wall furnishing much like that of an old hunting cabin in the woods. Yes, presumably it was a house before it got revamped and had a bar put in.
Once you have settled inside, the dim lit ambience, the log wood interiors (for the walls & some of the seats ) and rock n roll music transports you to another world - far from being in South Yarra for starters!
What most people who've been here before talked about however was their amazing cheeseburgers - priced at a bargain $10, which by the way was delicious and almost a touch gourmet - traditional beed patties between two soft delightful buns!
But the big highlight for us were the amazing Hot Glazed Chicken tenders with chipotle mayo & pickles; one helluva item on the menu that packs in tons of smoked paprika flavor so typical of the American-Mexican cuisine from Texas.
We also tried their Fancy Charcoal Chicken Fries, which was somewhat like a poutine with additional trimmings in the form of shallot rings and shredded charcoal chicken. Not bad either, but as you can imagine we were already quite full leaving not much room for our tastebuds to do their job!
The range of beers on tap aren't too impressive. While the Brooklyn Lager offers some solace Leonard's Bathtub House Lager is very mediocre and lacks depth of flavor.
Another big tick for the venue is their music. I don't know about you, but I love the old school rock n roll - AC DC, ZZ Top shuffled with the occasional Doors number, RHCP, Van Halen; yes all of those, hell yeah! Which by the way does gets louder as the night progresses.
All in all, we loved the place. All the good stuff done dirt cheap in an unassuming way, that too in a swanky neighborhood.