Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Newmarket Hotel - Excellent Latin Food

Latin food encompasses quite a large spectrum of cuisines, and luckily, Newmarket Hotel does them all really well. I am totally in love with Newmarket Hotel already, having been back 3 times. While the outside is quite unassuming, once you step inside you feel like you've stepped through one of Alice In Wonderland's magical doors. The interior just oozes a funky vibe. The decor, such as with quite a number of modern Melbourne restaurants, is a mix of industrial and vintage. I'm going to coin this style "Industrial Vintage", or has it been used already? Anyway, the dining area has these beautiful arches and sunlight streaming through the upper glass windows. I love the light fittings which match really well with the big leather tub chairs. An impressive long bar separates the dining area from the outside courtyard and a casual drinking space inside.

The menu is very diverse, and designed by the amazing Paul Wilson, whom I got to meet in person at the Middle Park Hotel
breakfast launch and at Steer Bar and Grill where he was consulting. I love Paul's work and once again he's come up with a winner in my books, creating a relaxing enjoyable space that serves great food at good prices.

You might start your meal with a variety of tacos, which are all brilliant. All the flavours are vibrant and really get you going back for more. While I loved quite a number of tacos, from the soft shell crab to the prawn to the beef cheek, my favourite is most definitely the bone marrow with brisket. The taco is pure unctuous spicy brilliance.

You can move your way sequentially through the menu and try some Cocas (Catalan flatbreads) with an assortment of wonderful toppings. Then you'll hit the starters where you're greeted with smaller fresh light meals. I especially love the Buffalo milk haloumi that's been grilled to perfection. During the summer visit, I also had a beautiful Tuna and Mango Ceviche. It was zingy, fresh and very clean in flavour.

While I'm a huge fan of cured meats and would always order it at other restaurants, surprisingly I haven't tried any of the cured meats at Newmarket as I'm always tempted by other items. Not to worry, something to go back for. The salads and vegetables part of the menu obviously doesn't get much of a work out from me either. I was a tad disappointed with the Bravas Potatoes, as they didn't have that perfect crispy oily taste. Instead the oil tasted a bit dull, if that makes sense. My disappointment didn't last long though when the meats come out. The St Louis style Pork Ribs are freaking finger lickin' good. Everything about them was perfect, from the soft meat falling off the bones to the beautiful sauce and served with a fresh apple slaw. The Suckling Pig with Chicharon was also amazing. The meat was so tender and skin so crispy. While I like peaches, I felt the addition of them really didn't add anything to the already deliciousness of the pig (the grammar in the sentence is shocking but you can feel my enthusiasm I hope). Mmmmm, mmmm, mmmm. I can taste the pig now writing about it.

I've tried a few desserts here and they are all good, but nothing has jumped out at me as sensational yet. I liked the Tequila Flan, Seasonal Fruit, as well as the Coconut Creme Brulee below. While some would love the Chocolate and Chili Ice Cream with Rum and Mandarins, I personally hate the combination of chocolate/chili and chocolate/citrus, so this dish was never going to appeal to me. However, I can be objective and say the ice cream was of a high quality and if you love those combinations, you'll be in heaven.

As I mentioned, I love the atmosphere in the restaurant. Noise filters through from the other two areas into the dining area and provides an energy to the room. The seating arrangements are very good, so you feel like you have some privacy amongst the busy-ness. The service was very good every time I've been, with friendly wait staff who also seem very knowledgeable and are able to make great recommendations as well. Lastly, the drinks list is very extensive so you can definitely find something to go with your food, or if you're just there for a drink, you'll be equally satisfied. I would enthusiastically recommend you go try Newmarket Hotel and I hope you like it as much as I do.

Overall Rating: 16.5/20, Excellent Latin food in a wonderful fun atmosphere.

Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20:Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.

Newmarket Hotel on Urbanspoon


  1. This places looks freakin amazing!

    I would always always always choose ribs over cured meat, especially if they are finger licking good!

  2. I want that creme brûlée. Now.

  3. So happy you finally had the ribs!

  4. mmmm... bone marrow looks breathtakingly delicious!

  5. Still have yet to make my way here! Want that bone marrow taco!! Looks delish :)

  6. wow everything u ordered looks really good! wanna try them all

  7. Michele, ribs are definitely the way to go.

    Nic, creme brulee is so good.

    Anonymous, ribs were awesome.

    Bella, love bone marrow.

    Ashley, you must get yourself there fast.

    Betty, the food was all of a high standard and so good.