Hobsons Bay Hotel
Deep greens, brown-leather upholstery and natural timbers feature across all levels and a number of open-plan and private dining spaces and bars. On the first floor’s sweeping balcony, European-style tiles have replaced the Astroturf. But the most exciting addition is a stunning rooftop with bay views, which wasn’t used in any of the venue’s past lives.
The centrepiece of the pub is the dining room. Former Supernormal head chef Ben Pigott's menu – much like the building – has rustic, classic charm and a focus on flame-licked dishes, thanks to a woodfired grill and rotisserie in an open kitchen that stretches the length of the dining room.
The half rotisserie chook is destined to be Pigott’s signature, but there are also two rotisserie specials: porchetta with braised sweet-and-sour radicchio, hazelnuts and brown-butter jus on Saturdays, and a classic carved-to-order roast on Sundays.
The steaks are just as impressive, from Victorian grass-fed striploin to the mammoth 800-gram Cape Grim rib eye. They’re served simply, so the fire does most of the talking.
Veggie dishes include woodfired, maple-glazed butternut squash with buffalo curd; sugar snap peas, cooked directly over the coals until they blister and char, dressed with lemon, mint and pecorino; and grilled heirloom zucchini with stracciatella and basil.
On the more casual public-bar menu, find a minute steak with shoestring fries; and a rotisserie-chicken roll with hot sauce, aioli, pickles and lettuce.
Drinks-wise, there are Margaritas and Espresso Martinis on tap. Plus, a mix of classic and local craft beers including Balter XPA and Mountain Goat lager, and a Victorian-centric wine list that features pinot noir from the Bellarine Peninsula’s Marcus Hill and chardonnay from Geelong’s Austin’s.