WHERE AND WHAT
Remember the days when the term ''gastropub'' didn't have to mean a multimillion-dollar fitout and a celebrity chef? The Terminus Hotel is a step back in time to the truer meaning of the term, although you could simply call it a traditional pub with some top nosh. It's unmissable on the corner where Hoddle Street curves into High Street, in the shadow of the elevated train line.
WHERE TO SIT
The proper dining room is out back and it's a stately affair that uses the bluestone wall as a feature and augments it with flocked wallpaper, retro posters and bentwood chairs. The main bar is more casual with no table service and a chalkboard menu (although the full menu is available in both spaces). Modernised but not a fashion victim, it has all the credentials of a comfy boozer, albeit one you can take the kids to. For smokers, there are seats outside on the footpath - plenty of traffic noise is partly cancelled by screens.
WHEN TO GO
The Terminus is open for dinner seven nights a week; they do lunch from Wednesday to Sunday from noon until 2pm.
Being a pub, drinking is encouraged. Nine beers are on rotation on tap, and there's a focus on Victorian microbreweries. The wine list exhibits thought without going for a huge price bracket.
Inside the unprepossessing facade of the Terminus there was a great gastropub yearning to be let out; with the appointment of young British chef Matt Merrick it has realised its potential. Merrick has done the rounds of some city restaurant institutions but has wisely taken from them solid lessons in suiting an audience rather than slavish imitations of their menus. Still, as well as the pub cornerstones - a good fish and chips, a burger (Wagyu, natch) and steak (grain or grass-fed, served with triple-cooked hand-cut chips) - Merrick gives the punters some great-value bistro food. Chicken liver parfait; a knockout pork belly with fennel; and his lobster risotto is worth a trip in itself. If it's drinking food you're after you can go the fries with aioli, of course, but you'll also find some small snacky starters taking their cues from the Mediterranean, such as arancini and braised octopus with a spice pepper stew.
Locals; staff from Mixed Business cafe taking a breather; some children, although the space is big enough to cancel any annoyance among the anti-child brigade.
Let's put it this way: it's in The Age's Cheap Eats and the Good Food Guide. Enough said.
492 Queens Parade,
Clifton Hill, phone 9481 3182.
- 9481 3182
- Chef(s) - Matt Merrick
- Opening Hours - The Terminus is open for dinner seven nights a week; they do lunch from Wednesday to Sunday from noon until 2pm.
- Author - Larissa Dubecki