“Coffee; then beer,” repeats Adam Del Mastro. He’s describing the philosophy of Auction Rooms, which recently opened its doors for Melbourne’s summer nights.
While the North Melbourne institution built its reputation on coffee, freshly roasted only metres down the road, the general manager admits that the vivifying liquid is a harder sell of the evening.
“The after-dinner coffee is a very European tradition. My parents do it, but they’re the only people I know who do,” he says.
So, in order to further the venue’s reach outside of daylight hours, Del Mastro and Auction Rooms’ founder, Andrew Kelly, decided the small-batch ethic of boutique brewing was the natural extension of coffee culture. Del Mastro believes there’s a real simpatico between coffee and beer.
“Brewing is part of this enormous movement, there’s a true renaissance happening in Melbourne now with small-batch and micro-brewing in much the same way as coffee,” he explains.
The same principles regarding the sourcing of quality produce for Auction Rooms’ brunch menu have already been applied to the night.
“The rule of thumb is that we’re running with is that the further away from Errol Street any source is, the less likely we are to be interested,” he says.
Likewise, the dinner menu plies to the same tenets that have made their daily dishes popular.
“We wanted it to be Auction Rooms at night, as opposed to transforming it into this lyrebird in the evening, where it becomes this gastronomic festival of restaurant food,” says Del Mastro.
In that vain, Auction Rooms is concentrating on small-to-medium sized dishes with a down-to-earth feel, avoiding the tapas-style display.
“Customers come to us for a small amount of education and a small amount of satisfaction,” he says. “Those two things are really great to have.”
Auction Rooms new hours
Mon to Wed 7am-5pm
Thu & Fri 7am-10pm