There’s been a hotel on the corner of King and Flinders streets since 1853. And the current facade of the Waterside Hotel dates back to 1926. So there was work to do when the Sand Hill Road group (Garden State, Prahan Hotel) took over the property in 2017.
Its interior is done with antiques and curios from France, including an ecletic array of paintings, light shades and tables. And a wrought-iron greeting podium at the dining room entrance. In a former life it was a museum turnstile in Paris. Technē oversaw an interior refurbishment, but the building remains structurally unchanged.
The welcoming dining room now feels part Grand Budapest Hotel, part local pub. The menu features hotel classics such as chicken parmigianas and steaks (ranging from a 250 gram Wagyu for $30, up to 1.2 kilogram of Black Angus for $135 to share), alongside more refined plates such as oysters, smoked cobia or grilled calamari.
Walk through the main bar to the so-called “Doghouse” section for hot dogs, tinnies, and bottled cocktails. Try the Waterside Spritz, with elderflower, lemon, mint, berries and sparkling wine on the rooftop when its sunny. Chef Stuart Munroe, who previously led the kitchen at Merricote, spent one month perfecting the hot dogs, which includes a version topped with bleu d'Auvergne cheese from France. Equally decadent is the dessert menu’s marmalade and Jim Beam rye doughnut.
Beer from US brewery Lagunitas is on tap, and wines lean towards Australia with a few internationals. On the second level is the Bubblehouse, outfitted with dark furniture and a black marble bar. Its focus is champagne and prosecco. You can enjoy a $13 glass of something local, or a $495 bottle of 2006 Dom Perignon.
Or just head back to the main bar for a pot of Carlton. It is, after all, still a pub.