The hotly anticipated Queens Hotel has finally thrown open its doors, marking the latest offering from hospitality juggernaut Merivale.
Situated on the buzzy Enmore Road strip, the historic building is now home to a pub, cocktail bar and restaurant, with a kitchen spearheaded by the dynamic trio of Merivale masters: Christopher Hogarth and Patrick Friesen (of Papi Chulo fame) and Eric Koh (of Mr. Wong).
The restaurant, which holds the name Queen Chow, delivers a Cantonese menu full of flavourful classics, with a focus on traditionally prepared BBQ meats and some of the country’s best seafood. Patrick and Chris have spent the last year refining the menu and immersing themselves in the aroma and tastes of Hong Kong’s famous street kitchens, so expect a menu that is not only considered, but authentic.
At Queen Chow, they’ve combined these culinary traditions with some of Australia’s freshest produce to offer dishes like South Australian pippies with black bean, chilli and Tsingtao, salt and pepper cuttlefish, and whole roast duck with plum sauce.
Adventurous eaters will be pleased by the left-of-centre dishes on display: the typhoon shelter crab features deep-fried crab with garlic, chilli, black bean and pulp from soy beans, a plate that Pat described as, “messy and interactive, and you can’t stop yourself from eating it all”.
When it comes to dim sums, Eric Koh is king. His famous steamed, baked and fried dumplings are available for lunch, dinner and late-night supper, meaning there’s no excuse not to pop by for a try.
When your belly is full but your mouth is dry, head upstairs to The Smelly Goat, Queens’ eclectic cocktail bar. Bar Manager, Harrison Westlake, has created a menu of classic cocktails with a twist, using ingredients not often seen in a bar. Try the Dutch Courage with carrot, Maker’s Mark and white wine, or the Evergreen with capsicum, chilli, gin and ginger.
To complement the Chinese food offering from the downstairs restaurant, Harrison also played around with Asian spices, sweet and sour flavours, and ever-popular tea. The result is concoctions like the Churchill’s Delight – a re-imagining of a tequila Old Fashioned.
As expected from a Merivale venue, food and drink weren’t the only two factors in the re-opening. The venue has been transformed by an epic design team consisting of Justin and Bettina Hemmes, Kelvin Ho of Akin Creative and stylist, Amanda Talbot. With dark stained timbers, rubbed back finishes and a long timber bar with a zinc top, the ground floor is made up of bar seating and leather banquettes, which open to a kitchen courtyard shadowed by a canopy tree and staghorns.
Upstairs in The Smelly Goat, fabric-lined walls with black timber panelling and silk wall sconces create an intimate salon feel, while the hand-carved onyx bar top, the hand-painted mural by 8 Foot Walls, and curated taxidermy bird boxes evoke a sense of 1930s glamour. With a green and off-white checkered tiled floor, the adjoining enclosed terrace is filled with colourful rattan chairs and tables and hanging pots of native orchids.
Queens Hotel is open Monday-Sunday, with bar, lunch, dinner and late night menus available.