MELBOURNE | I was recently invited to the launch of La Madonna. It’s part of the newly opened Next Hotel, and bills itself as a restaurant that’s in a hotel, rather than a hotel restaurant. That is, the team behind the venue want La Madonna to be viewed as a restaurant and bar that can stand on its own as venue worth visiting.
The night began at the bar, and impressive space with some great views on the third floor. The highlight here is the bar’s in house wood barrel ageing program. Several cocktails and spirits are barrel aged on site, and they’ll soon be launching an option where you can reserve your own barrel. I tried the barrel aged negroni and really enjoyed it (well I had a few in fact).
Adjacent to the bar area is the restaurant, where chefs Daniel Natoli (ex Neptune, Rina’s) and Adrian Li (ex Tokyo Tina, Saigon Sally, Rina’s) have put together a seasonal menu that leans Italian with Asian flourishes. The kitchen also draws upon the barrel ageing program – they’re currently playing around with barrel aged fish sauce and white soy.
The food I enjoyed was all tasty. The highlights for me being the compressed tomato with white soy, stracciatella, the kingfish crudo with confit octopus and ‘forgotten ‘citrus, and basil, and the bistecca ala di’ana with roast potatoes.
Kudos to all involved for getting this one off the ground, opening a new hotel with an ace food and drink offering in the current challenging environment deserves a round of applause.
103 Little Collins Street
Mon – Fri: 7:00am to 10:00am, 12:00pm to 3:00pm, 6:00pm to 9:30pm
Sat – Sun: 7:00am to 11:00am, 12:00pm to 3:00pm, 6:00pm to 9:30pm