Melbourne foodies can rejoice. One of South Melbourne’s most beloved gastropubs, Lamaro’s Hotel, has been being given a new lease on life by Dandelion chef Geoff Lindsay and business partner Paul Dimattina.
The updated Lamaro’s has a fresh bar menu and wine list, and the restaurant is in the process of getting a mini makeover to reflect the changing of the guard – including a fresh lick of paint and new art and wall features inside.
Unfortunately, punters will have to wait until August to experience the full dining-room menu, which will be an eclectic mix of Geoff’s best dishes plus an assortment of pub classics.
Don’t fret though, because there’s plenty to enjoy in the meantime – Geoff’s modern Australian bar menu offers a broad selection of simple and delicious dishes – including soft shell crab sliders, succulent steak sandwiches and pumpkin tortellini.
“My food is not contemporary molecular gastronomy style stuff,” he says. “It’s rooted in very classic cooking techniques.”
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What are your plans for Lamaro’s?
“The bar menu will include some Asian dishes and some classic pub dishes, and some more exotic things as well. The dining room menu will be a bit of a retrospective of dishes that I’ve done in the past from my previous restaurants, all tied together with some pepped-up pub classics.”
How does it feel to revisit some of your greatest hits?
“It’s a really exciting thing. For the past six or seven years, I’ve concentrated pretty heavily on Vietnamese-style food at Dandelion, so it’s nice to get back to doing something that’s a bit more freestyle and freeform.”
How does your food style fit the hotel?
“The food will be modern Australian, which seems to fit like a glove. While it’s been renovated quite a bit, the hotel still has all of its classic features – stained-glass windows, a horseshoe bar, open fireplaces – all the things that, when pubs get renovated, usually get ripped out. This one remains that beautiful old-school style, so our old-school dishes will also fit in really well with the dining room.”
What’s your favourite dish on the new menu?
“My favourite dish on the dining room menu is the red duck curry, which is a real classic dish that I used to make at Pearl. I think it’s going to be a real a crowd-pleaser.
“As far as the bar is concerned, it’s a real mix of different flavours and styles. We’ve got something as simple as a Vietnamese banh mi and things that are little more complex that I think can become people’s home-away-from-home favourites.”
What’s new for long-time Lamaro’s diners?
“We’re going to bring back the high level of service that was here in the good old days of the pub. It will be a very hands-on operation by Paul, myself and our manager, Nick Brown, so we’ll be here all the time, looking after punters.”