Boilermaker House Melbourne is the newest venture from Speakeasy Group, the team behind Eau De Vie Melbourne, Sydney and The Roosevelt. The interior is unrecognisable from its prior incarnation as Greek restaurant Medallion. The bar takes it visual cues from the blues bars of America’s south and everything has been stripped back to reveal exposed bricks, wood and concrete. The lighting is low, and there are a variety of seating options – booths, tables and stools at the bar. Staff are appropriately attired to complete the look.
While cocktails are on the menu, the main focus here is whiskey and craft beer. There are over 700 whiskeys on offer, arranged on the menu by flavour profile, and the staff somehow manage to have an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of the flavour profiles of each one. The 12 beer taps contain a rotating selection of craft beers and there are a 50 different bottled beers to choose from if what’s on the taps doesn’t tickle your fancy. There’s also a focused wine selection on offer.
Also offered are “Boilermakers”, which are a matching of whiskey and wine (not in the same glass) and a small bite, all designed to compliment each other. We tried the “Black Forest”, which consisted of Aberlour 16 year old, 8 Ball Stout and a bite of dried figs and chocolate. We also tried the Devil’s Smokehouse, which paired bacon bourbon with Moon Dog’s Black Lung IV and some crispy bacon. Both were delicious and more than just a novelty – the beer and whisky combinations really did compliment each other. Alas we tried these on our second visit to Boilermaker House and our camera was not at hand.
Food is anything but an afterthought at Boilermaker House, with a small menu of small dishes and mains along with a very extensive selection of cheeses and charcuterie. You can order cured meats like San Daniele prosciutto and jamon iberico in 40g portions, along with any number of the cheeses on the menu individually, or opt for one of the boards, which come in a variety of sizes and contain a range of charcuterie and cheese along with pate, rillettes and other similarly appropriate goodies.
Chicken Liver Pate, Vermouth Jelly, Salt & Vinegar Crisps ($14.00)
We loved the chicken liver pate which was beautifully creamy with a mellow flavour. The pairing of the pate with salt & vinegar crisps was an interesting choice, and not something I’ve seen on a menu before. Interestingly, we tried this pairing and espoused its virtues on Instagram a few months back. Coincidence?
Venison Burger ($20.00)
The venison burger is served with tomato, lettuce and pickles on a brioche bun with your choice of Gorgonzola, Camembert or Swiss Gruyere. It’s a delicious burger, and the simplicity of ingredients allows the gamey flavour of the venison to really shine through. Several of our group ordered it both times that we visited Boilermaker House and there were no complaints around the table.
Pork Sausages, Clams, Red Pepper Sauce, Creamy Polenta ($27.00)
The final main that we tried were the pork sausages, and they were another winner. The sausages were quite lean and tender and very flavoursome. This was one of those dishes where everything worked well individually or together. I personally found that the combination of sausage, a bit of polenta and some sauce was the tastiest way to eat the dish.
Large Ploughman’s Platter ($74.00)
On our second visit we tried the large ploughman’s platter (3 cheeses, 4 meat, pate, pickles, rillettes). It was on the pricey side but was definitely enough to fill up 2 of us without the need for any extra food. Some extra bread wouldn’t have gone astray but everything on the plate was very tasty. The exact cheese and meats on the board differ depending on the day and stock levels. You’ll have to excuse the camera phone quality on this photo.
Chocolate Stout Cake, Mascarpone, Almond, Raspberry ($11.00)
While the large ploughman’s platter was more expensive than we would have liked, the dessert (1 of only 3 on the menu) was very well priced. There’s nothing fancy going on with this dessert, just a great combination of classic flavours that go well together. Texture wise, the cake was really moist and the dessert worked best with a bit of everything in each mouthful. Dark chocolate and raspberry might be playing things safe, but we’re completely cool with that when the result tastes this good.
Eau De Vie is one of our favourite bars in Melbourne and given the high bar that it has set, we had big expectations for Boilermaker House. Thankfully these expectations were met. The food, while on the pricey side, is great, the drinks selection is very impressive and the atmosphere is fun and sophisticated. On our first visit there were some issues around slow service however the place had just opened up. We had such a great time that we visited again 2 weeks later and it was clear that the staff had found their groove – service was attentive and the staff were very knowledgeable about everything on the menu. We’ll be back.
209 Lonsdale Street
Telephone: 0424 270 082
Mon – Wed: 4:00pm to 3:00am
Thu – Sun: 12:00pm to 3:00am
Sun: 12:00pm to 11:00pm