The Recreation Bistro and Bottleshop
162-170 Queens Parade, Fitzroy North
0420 415 427
Giving a new lease of life to an old pub, three Melbourne hospitality veterans are bringing back Fitzroy North’s ‘Recreation Hotel’ to its former youth. Previously operating as Charlie’s, the new Recreation Bistro and Bottleshop is here to relive its glory days as a watering hole and eatery with a touch of class.
The trio comes from fine-dining backgrounds but plan to keep it simple when it comes to their own venture. Steven Nelson hails straight from the kitchen of South Yarra’s Bistro Gitan where he’s been cooking French classics since its inception five years ago. While Joe Durrant and Mark Protheroe met at Grossi Florentino’s, where Joe was the restaurant manager and Mark the group sommelier. Combining their skills they have created the ultimate offering in French flair with a curated list of local and cosmopolitan wines.
The 1870s heritage building retains its original exterior and exposed-brick walls flank the dining room. A vintage clock hangs above potted greenery and wine is uniformly lined in smart wooden-cube shelves. Old school style is contrasted by contemporary artwork from street artist, Shaun Lu, with a modern kitchen to match.
Guests can peruse the bottleshop for sit-in or takeaway, or even bring their own bottle for a $20 corkage fee. Fancy bar snacks are the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon or evening of drinking and nibbling. To start, crunch on a tostada topped with veal, paprika, caramelised onion and radish, or baked scallops with salmon mousse and signature recreation butter. Move on to share a plate of chargrilled calamari with lemon, bay leaf and kipfler potato.
For a rich treat, you can’t go past the gruyere fondue sauce, poured over spätzle sautéed with charred broccoli and cabbage. For something heartier, enjoy the house-made sausage with pommes mousseline and barbecue onion, or a braised lamb pithvier with squash salad and goat’s cheese.
With accolades including The Age Good Food Guide Sommelier of the Year 2014 under his belt, Mark’s 150-strong selection of Australian, French and Spanish wines is sure to satisfy. Stop in after work to test out a new tipple or take a bottle home to enjoy with friends.