“A lot of other steakhouses in the south are quite formal and European, with table bookings and white tablecloths,” says Liam Ganley, who co-owns new Greville Street restaurant Angus & Bon with his partner Margaret Lawless. “We wanted to engage with the area’s insane punk-rock history and create a more Windsor style that’s youthful and edgy.”
AC/DC played one of its first Melbourne shows at Greville Street’s now-closed Station Hotel in January 1975. In tribute, Angus & Bon is named after the band’s guitarist Angus Young, and late lead singer Bon Scott. You’ll find other AC/DC references scattered throughout the venue, too.
Angus & Bon occupies the old 1928 Prahran Post Office building. It’s the fourth Melbourne business for Liam Ganley, after Fifth Province and Freddy Wimpoles in St Kilda, and Collingwood’s Lemon Middle and Orange.
“I’d been watching this site for two years before landing the lease,” says Ganley. “I used to come here a lot when it was Mrs. Parma’s and dreamed of re-designing the fit-out to restore a lot of the historical elements and introduce a good steak and drinks menu.”
Former Rockpool Bar & Grill sous-chef of four years Declan Carroll heads the kitchen at Angus & Bon. Carroll’s menu is focused around a woodfired grill custom built by Albert Gibellini at Sharpline Stainless Steel, who also built the woodfired grill at Rockpool.
Cuts of O’Connor’s grass-fed beef are aged for 30 to 50 days before being thrown on the grill, as is the 9+ score dried-aged Wagyu from David Blackmore. Pork belly, lamb, seafood and vegetables also get a lick of smoke. The fire’s lit in the morning with dense ironbark logs burning at temperatures of up to 600 degrees. Managing the grill’s unpredictable nature takes real skill; often conditions change within seconds.
“Every single steak requires a slightly different technique because you have to work with the fire first,” says Carroll. “You have to be so in control of the fire at all times because the hotter and cooler spots on the grill are constantly moving.”
Classic sauce options accompanying the different cuts of beef include peppercorn, Café de Paris butter and a fresh take on béarnaise.
“We use a reduction method with tarragon vinegar, fresh tarragon and shallots, so it’s much lighter with just a kick of vinegar to cut through the beef, and we use the gun too so it has a nice foamy texture,” says Carroll.
“At the end of the day it is all kept as simple as possible with good quality ingredients from about 20 suppliers and good technique.”
A daytime menu offers steak sandwiches and burgers and on weekends the bottomless brunch ($39) gives you two hours to knock back Mimosas, White Peach Bellinis and Bloody Marys.
Often red wine is the go-to to complement a cut of steak. But Angus & Bon matches cocktails to its red meat. Bartender Jake Burnham has created a gin Old Fashioned using Jensen’s Old Tom Gin, oloroso sherry and Amaro Montenegro. He says the sweetness and spice of the drink works like a big malbec by cutting through the fat of the beef.
The interior was designed by Wendy Bergman of Bergman & Co.
“It was quite a daunting space because it’s so big with the capacity for 200 diners inside and 40 outside,” says Ganley. “We’ve sacrificed many of these seats, though, because we wanted to create a more opulent and lavish space with more room.”
The original wood panelling has been restored; any new timber has been carefully stained to match the old. The building’s original brickwork, sash windows and brass railings have all been preserved.
A dropped-ceiling bar separates two main dining areas. The front is casual with high seats and a lounge bar where walk-ins are welcome. A more refined area at the back of the restaurant features tan-leather clam-shaped booths.
Contemporary lighting by Please Please Please is dim for a dark and sumptuous Old World club vibe. The music balances New Orleans-style rhythm and blues from the 1940s and ’50s with the odd Beyonce or Rihanna cover.
“There’s a fine line for re-creating old-fashioned, but making it approachable, comfortable and contemporary,” says Ganley. “But I think we’ve achieved it here.”
Angus & Bon
168 Greville Street, Prahran
(03) 9533 9593