A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Published January 22nd 2017
Tea-se your tastebuds with these tea-based tipples
Melbourne Public, a bar and restaurant housed in the refurbished cargo sheds between the Hilton Hotel and the Yarra River in South Wharf, Melbourne, is offering drinks with a difference - tea inspired cocktails. The perfect refreshing tipple for a warm day, these custom designed cocktails will be on offer until the end of February.
Melbourne Public - a large venue located in a former cargo shed by the Yarra
Given its location, it's no surprise that Melbourne Public is a large venue, with plenty of tables and seating, both indoors and outside on the terrace deck, with its retractable rooftop. Its high ceilings feature exposed beams, and the bright, modern interior is '1920s industrial' inspired. The venue features a large bar which appears very well stocked.
The large bar is impressive
Settling into a couple of bar stools at the end of a large share table, we sampled a selection of the new cocktail range - at a special launch price of $5 (but standardly priced at a reasonable $10). First up was Bourbon for Breakfast (Bulleit bourbon, sweet English Breakfast Tea, mint and lemon), a tangy and well balanced drink perfect to quench that post-work or shopping thirst.
The lip tingling Keep Calm and Drink Tequila (left) and the Bourbon for Breakfast cocktails
Jumping into something bolder, we ordered Keep Calm and Drink Tequila (tequila, chamomile tea and lime). This one comes complete with a bird's eye chilli as a garnish - which gives a hint of things to come. There was enough heat coming from the chilli to have my lips tingling - making it a bit difficult to fully appreciate the flavours of the drink. But if you like to try things that are a bit different, and are keen on spicy flavours, the Keep Calm is for you.
We tasted two others: The Earl of Grey (Gordon's gin, Earl Grey tea, lemon and rosemary), and the Min-Tea Mojito (Pampero rum, mint tea, lime and mint). The Earl of Grey was as subtle as the Mojito was bold. I particularly enjoyed the latter, finding the combination of the strong mint and lime flavours to my liking.
Earl of Grey (right) and Min-Tea Mojito cocktails
There is one more on the tea-inspired cocktail menu, which will have to wait for our return visit for tasting: Sing Oo-Long Gimlet (Gordon's gin, Oolong tea and sweetened lime juice).
Head mixologist at Melbourne Public, Michael Schoonraad, encourages Melbournians to try something new. "We all love Espresso Martinis, and they will always have a place in any cocktail obsessive's heart – but the quintessentially summery iced-tea with the addition of a drop of perfectly matched alcohol…well, there is nothing quite like it."
But if you DO prefer an Espresso Martini to a tea based cocktail, then there's good news there too - they are on offer at Melbourne Public at $10 between 7-9pm on Fridays.
Another reason to put Melbourne Public on your Friday happy hour list is that from 4-7pm, you can grab a plate of oysters at a very modest price - oysters natural at $1 each, or oysters Kilpatrick at $1.50. We tried them and they are delicious.
Oysters - a great Friday special at $1 each for oysters natural
If you're enjoying Melbourne Public too much to move on elsewhere for dinner, the good news is that you don't need to. You can order food from the bar, or dine in the separate elevated dining room. On offer is a good range of dishes, from share dishes such as chilli mussels ($22) or shoestring fries with garlic aioli ($10 for an enormous bowl), through to classic favourites such as chicken parmigiana ($24), prawn risotto ($29) or steaks (from $34). For the full menu click here.
Lunch is available from 12 noon to 2.30pm, and dinner from 5pm every day.
Enjoy a drink or meal indoors or out on the terrace
We enjoyed our visit to Melbourne Public and recommend it as a venue for a casual drink or meal. We found the staff friendly, and the service very efficient.
Melbourne Public is located at 1 Dukes Walk, South Wharf, and is open from 12 noon to 1.00am every day.
The images in this article were taken by the writer. They are not to be reproduced in any form without the express permission of WeekendNotes.