Geoff Lindsay has taken over one of Melbourne’s best gastropubs, South Melbourne’s Lamaro’s. The chef-owner of Vietnamese restaurant Dandelion and formerly Pearl, together with partner Paul Dimattina, recently bought the venue from Colonial Leisure Group.
"Lamaro’s has had such a long history of serving great food, its a classic old pub that thankfully hasn’t been ravaged by developers," Lindsay tells Broadsheet. "We love the pub, what it stands for and feel it's a great fit for me to revisit the Modern Australian food that I cooked before my segue into all things Viet.
"It has magnificent ‘bones’ as they say and people love it, even though it may have lost a bit of its convivial feeling."
Nick Brown, formerly of Levantine Hill Wines, has joined as venue manager and put together the beer and wine list.
Lindsay’s new bar menu launches this weekend, while Lamaro’s more formal dining room, with its plush, carpeted floors, will get some “restyling touches” before opening in early August,” he says.
“The menu in the dining room will be a bit of a retrospective of dishes from my past,” Lindsay says. “All very lusty, comforting dishes that will fit like a glove into the classic styling’s of Lamaro’s dining room.”
That means his famous red duck curry from Pearl, and a whole deep-fried baby snapper from his time at Stella in the 1990s. There will also be dishes “that pay homage” to chefs that have influenced him most, such as Stephanie Alexander’s esqueixada of salmon and salt cod (he worked with Alexander at her eponymous Hawthorn diner Stephanie’s for a number of years, including as head chef for two) and Andrew Blake’s pumpkin tortellini with mostarda di Cremona (Lindsay was head chef at Blake’s eponymous restaurant, too).
At the bar diners will find “classic favorites from Europe, Asia and the Americas,” Lindsay says, such as banh mi, Reuben sandwiches, moules frites and fish-head curry. At Dandelion and Lindsay’s recent summer pop-ups, crab has been a focus – you’ll find black pepper crab on the menu at Cecil Street this weekend.