A publican’s guide to Melbourne’s inner south
So I asked veteran publican and south-side dweller Rabih Yanni, who took over Grosvenor Hotel in St Kilda after selling super-successful The Point Albert Park earlier this year. Rabih has a reputation for giving his customers perfectly-aged, grass-fed Victorian meat, and the Grosvenor is already churning through 200kg a week (hardly surprising, when the pub serves 40-day-aged porterhouse for $34, or $16 on Thursday steak night). Rabih’s head chef Paul Tyas (ex-sous chef at The Point under Scott Pickett) is also batting up crowd pleasers like Western Plains’ whole suckling pig, carved at the table for up to 10 hungry diners.
Life is busy as a publican, but when Rabih goes out for a bite to eat in the inner south, these are the places he likes to visit.
1. Bistro Gitan
52 Toorak Rd West, South Yarra, 9867 5853
For a meal with the family and/or friends, Bistro Gitan (pictured above) is perfect. They do a delicious take on the prawn cocktail and steak tartare, with amazing espresso martinis to finish.
Como House and Garden, corner Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave, 9827 6886
This is my favourite place for breakfast. Everything on the menu will satisfy and/or assist with a hangover, but I can’t go past the hotcakes with pistachio praline. I always order a serve for myself and my son Orlando, and then make sure I help him finish his too. There’s also a great selection of tea from Larsen & Thompson.
534 Malvern Rd, Hawksburn Village, 0438 852 241
I don’t get excited by the coffee scene as I’ve always maintained I make myself the best coffee. However, I stumbled across this genuine article Italian coffee bar while helping my wife set up her boutique a few doors down. There’s an Italian barista straight from Florence grinding Degustazione beans (also, from Florence). Needless to say, it assisted with the late nights and early mornings. Brilliant coffee and handmade chocolates.
75 Acland St, St Kilda, 9537 3633
This is where I go for a treat with my son Orlando. Mark Mariotti was the first to market with artisanal gelato and has remained consistent since opening in 2001. Orlando loves the fragola (strawberry) gelato and I enjoy any flavour Mark suggests, particularly the crocangelo.
181 Bank St, South Melbourne, 9078 8381
Bellota is the place to go for a drink on the way home. There’s always a great wine by the glass available and they make a mean negroni. The roasted almonds are moorish and assist with alcohol consumption.