Post Office Hotel & 229 Dining Hall, 229 Sydney Rd, Coburg
The Post Office Hotel in Coburg, owned by renowned musician Tex Perkins and a couple of members of Aussie band Dallas Crane, has long been renowned as a hidden gem in the local live music scene. But with the addition of a newly refurbished dining hall to accompany the front bar, it's definitely worth a trip up Sydney Road to check out the amazing menu on offer.
The refurbishment has resulted in the large barn-like space being given a modern makeover with exposed brick walls, fireplace, hanging pendant lights, recycled timber tables, and indoor plants. There's shaded seating on stools out the front if you want to be amongst the hustle and bustle of Sydney Rd, a large communal table to spread out your morning paper and several intimate booths with leather banquettes.
But the Post Office Hotel likes to promote what they believe to be the best seats in the house along the bar of the fiery open kitchen where head chef Luka Wilson and sous chef Julian Lobb prepare fresh contemporary dishes. From prawns plucked straight from the grill to house-cured salmon with spring peas, lip-smacking mulberry lamb ribs, charred Romsey T-Bone steak and half-grilled chicken with roasted corn and heirloom carrots, these guys have you covered. The open kitchen makes the dining experience an experience in entertainment as well, as the chef calls out each order to a loud enthusiastic response of 'Oui!' from the rest of the kitchen staff.
With the pub classic parma a stalwart on the menu for those who like to stick with a proven winner, there's also a lot of variety for those who like to branch out. The grilled lamb chops with smooth potato, crisps, broad beans, peas and minted salsa verde will delight you in its presentation and tastes amazing. The chargrilled pork rack with fennel puree, roasted fennel and crackling-sugar snap salad is also a must-try. Vegan options include the delicious gratin of spring vegetables on sautéed beetroot leaves with gruyere and salsa verde. There's also some tasty pizzas on offer, including my favourite the prawns with salsa verde and black chilli lime.
While Coburg might not be renowned for its fine dining restaurant options, the Post Office Hotel is a welcome addition to the scene and seems to be thriving if the packed out dining hall is any indication. I highly recommend a trip up Sydney Rd to see this hidden gem for yourself, and stay later on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night to check out the great array of local bands playing in the front bar.