O’Connell’s Hotel is an iconic heritage Melbourne’s dining establishment, featuring stunning architecture, charming dining spaces and a top notch menu. When it comes to a business lunch O’Connell’s has you covered. If you’re coming here on a Friday afternoon plan a good 2 hours in the diary and tell the PA to advise customers that “you’re in a meeting” for the rest of the afternoon. The World Loves Melbourne was invited along for lunch and we were highly impressed. Like other institutions in Melbourne right now they are adjusting to the Coronavirus situation. When we dined there was “social distancing” in place but now the restrictions are more severe. O’Connell’s Hotel is currently closed until further notice as at March 2020, but we want to celebrate them and look forward to their return.
Beer on tap in the bar before dining in the restaurant.
Arriving at this pub with class we enjoyed a beer in the bar, and then ushered through to the main dining area. The dining area displayed a classic look with timber paneling and there were white cloths on the tables. A place where you could relax but semi formal. Staff are attentive and professional. Despite the Coronavirus situation there was a reasonable number of diners, observing social distancing with tables spread apart.
Classic dining room with character.
We were excited to see O’Connell’s Hotel as a steak destination. Sure they have other exciting dishes but steaks are a specialty here and the South Melbourne creatives (including us) were enjoying a Friday lunchtime steak indulgence with all the sauces.
Before steak we were impressed with the dozen freshly shucked Sydney Rock Oysters served with tangy Mignonette sauce and lemon. Plump and almost “meaty” oysters all the better for being super fresh.
Bread with butter was also a joy.
Another starter of note was the Wild Rabbit and Pistachio Terrine, rich and indulgent with a delightful fermented tomato jam and crispy lavosh.
When it comes to steak this is not the normal pub steak we are often accustomed to, but seriously high grade cuts. The Sher Wagyu Rump 300g, 8+ from Victoria hit the high notes, served with all the steak sauces including my favourite peppercorn, and a sensational port wine jus. This was the way to spend a Friday afternoon without apology. After a big week dealing with clients it was the meal we deserved. Another highlight was the large sized triple cooked chips that came with the steak meal.
Pan Roasted Highland Duck Breast with pink tinge was another triumph, featuring blackened orange, fig and beetroot. This Friday lunch packed some punch and the South Melbourne crowd loves it.
Steady yourself for a decent session as dessert doesn’t hold back either. Vanilla Creme Brulee is a must order with hot and cold red berries.
Madagascan Chocolate Delice also hit the mark with marmalade and burnt orange ice cream.
You may want to take it easy after such a lunch and I was looking for a siesta rather than the next client meeting. Highly recommended and we look forward to their return after this challenging period.