MELBOURNE | Dolly is the restaurant at the recently opened Le Meridian Melbourne. It’s housed in the basement of the former cinema, Metro Nightclub, and Palace Theatre, and pays homage to the building’s past. I was recently invited in to take a look.
The name, Dolly, is reference to the dolly zoom camera technique pioneered by Alfred Hitchcock in 1958. The design of the restaurant is an Art Deco throwback to Hollywood’s golden era, and executive chef Christian Graebner’s menu harkens back to nostalgic European dishes.
It’s a classically structured menu of entrees, mains, sides and desserts, with the option of a la carte dining, or one of two prix fixe menus – ‘pre theatre’ or the larger ‘signature’. Produce is sourced from across Victoria – Portarlington mussels, O’Connor beef and Yarra Valley venison.
The small plates particular shine, making Dolly a great option for a drink and some snacks before a show or gig at one of the many nearby theatres and live music venues. Oysters are served natural, with a Champagne sorbet, or Rockefeller with a thick cut bacon and spinach crumb. All three are worth a try.
Bass Strait scallops, served with apple and celeriac cream, kumquat jam, and chicken jus, are well worth ordering, as is the Tasmanian cured salmon roulade with leek ash, and poached king prawn, in a sauce of buttermilk, chilli oil, chive, and fennel pollen. Be sure to ask for extra bread to soak up that wonderful sauce.
For mains, its things like a deconstructed O’Connor’s grass fed beef tenderloin beef wellington with prosciutto, silver beet, mushrooms, Dijon mustard, and sauce Robert; and King George whiting en papillote. The latter is served in a Portarlington mussel broth, with saffron braised fennel, and rainbow trout caviar pearls.
For dessert, it’s the showpiece Bombe Alaska for two, with popcorn salted caramel ice-cream, and rum torched meringue. For something smaller, try the ‘Dolly’s Melting Moment’. It’s a gingerbread cookie ice-cream sandwich filled with spiced plum gelato.
The wine list has been put together by sommelier and distributor Patrick Walsh. The focus is on Victorian wines from wineries close to Melbourne, with a few bottles from further afar. For cocktails, it’s a selection of creations by the team from The Everleigh, inspired by individuals linked to the former theatre’s past. Try the ‘Florence’, a tribute to Australian soprano, Florence Austral, born in Richmond in 1892. It’s a tasty mix of gin, Bianco Apéritif, Gentian, and elderflower.
20 Bourke Street
Tue – Sun: 5:00pm to 10:00pm