Goodbye, ST ALi North.
Hello, Green Park Dining.
THREE-WORD SUMMARY Good for everything
Must-order Casa Mariol Vermut Negre with orange to whet the palate
Better off without sitting at the tables in the main thoroughfare
Top tip live music on Sundays from 5pm to 7pm
The crowd families with kids, catch up crowds, bloggers, locals
The damage $40pp excluding drinks for dinner, $12-23 for breakfast & lunch
Green Park Dining opens first thing tomorrow at 7am sharp where ST ALi North once stood. Owner Jesse Gerner (the fellow behind Bomba in Melbourne CBD and Anada in Gertrude Street, Fitzroy) was an original partner at ST ALi North, but he sold his share to focus on Bomba. Gerner recently shook hands with former ST ALi North business partner Salvatore Malatesta, bought the whole thing, and turned it into an all day eatery.
Green Park Dining’s co-owners – the ‘Green Team’, if you will – have an impressive combined resume: Jamie Munro-Lynch (ex-Charlie Dumpling, Anada, Circa and Cutler & Co.) is in charge of the floor, Howard Stamp (ex-MoVida and Le Bon Ton) is at the helm in the kitchen, and James Madden (ex-Kirk’s and City Wine Store) has put together the drinks menu with wines from our home soil as well as France, Italy and Spain.
I attended a preview dinner last night with a throng of media, blogger and industry folk. Eades & Bergman have done a fantastic job of simply but effectively revamping the formerly cold, reverberating shell into a moody space with forest green walls and colour-coordinated ferns. A timber divider breaks up the once-hollow dining space, and a wine bar replaces the coffee area, complete with both stool seating and booths with leather banquettes.
Food-wise, a Spanish influence sneaks onto the menu, but Gerner has been telling the media that Green Park Dining shouldn’t be pigeonholed into the Spanish category. Breakfast favourites are likely to include the smoked brisket hash with a fried duck egg; scotch egg with black pudding and rosemary glazed bacon on brioche; and cornbread with avocado, scrambled eggs, tomato and chipotle relish. Lunch, served from 11am to 3pm, is short and sweet: gnocchi, aged Murray beef burger, pan-fried fish, cider-braised pork and an ancient grain salad with pickled cauliflower, asparagus, capsicum and goat’s cheese.
Come dinnertime, your best bet is to start with charcuterie and follow with either two courses for $30 or three courses for $40. At the moment there’s a fish, lamb and vegetarian option for main with mascarpone tart, profiteroles or chocolate salami for sweets. The bar menu is more extensive with small share dishes such as braised oxtail croquettes, steak and pepper tartar with potato chips and fried rabbit with tarragon mayo. Bigger plates include meat from the grill and wood-grilled fish. I’ll be popping in for a digestif and the frozen chocolate and hazelnut Aero bar.
The highlight dish from the launch was the supple kingfish ceviche punctuated with pale green daubs of avocado, coriander, chipotle and zingy jalapenos. Meatier dishes – such as pork and rabbit terrine and fall-off-the-bone Murray Grey beef ribs – were richer in flavour, while snapper on a bed of stewed zucchini was delicate by comparison. Side plates didn’t drop the ball, ranging from seasonal greens and colourful roast carrots with labne, to golden fried potatoes spiked with garlic butter. Park St Pastries supplied a selection of sweets, which will be available from a display cabinet throughout the day.
At the most basic level, Green Park Dining has all bases covered, whether for a midweek drink, Sunday session or family brunch. There’s a children’s breakfast menu ($5-6) with play equipment an arm’s length away, live music on Sundays (New Orleans piano and horns), a snacky bar menu, Clement Coffee to complement your eggs, intimate candles in the evening, and then some. Pulling off such a broad offering is a brave move, but if Gerner and his experienced team can do it, Green Park dining will quickly become a Carlton North staple.
Contemporary, Spanish Influence
815 Nicholson Street Carlton North, Victoria, Australia
(03) 9380 5455
Open daily 7am-11pm
Thank you to the team at Green Park Dining for the introduction to the establishment.