210 Napier Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne
Visited 2nd January 2010
Saturday night in Melbourne and it's time for a final fling before a way too early flight back to Hong Kong Sunday morning. The inner city suburb of Fitzroy is home to a great assortment of old-school Aussie pubs, but for food the Napier is perhaps my favourite. Housed in a hundred and nineteen year old building the pub is tucked away in a backstreet just opposite the old town hall (once upon a time Fitzroy use to have both a mayor and a football team). Inside the decors a mix of traditional charm with wood panelling, stain glass windows and modern cool with plenty of cool art, plus the odd piece of football memorabilia. The crowds a mix of the area; professional and bohemian, old and young, all are welcome.
Sure the Napier's a pub and the menu's a pub menu, but it's good. If you want a parma, burger or fish and chips they've got it, but there's plenty more interesting options including kangaroo, seafood, curry and the massive 'bogan' burger. I ordered a scotch fillet off the specials menu. The juicy, well cooked steak came with crunchy greens - broccolini and asparagus - and some rather tasty fat cut chips. I also managed to procure quite a bit of my mother's burger as its massive girth was well out of proportion with her appetite. Served on toasted ciabatta, with top quality bacon and a delicious garlic yogurt it was an interesting take on my usual pub favourite. The food at the Napier is really top-notch; the serves are exceedingly generous and quality of the ingredients is obvious. A pub cold beer is the order of the day and Melbourne brewed Mountain Goat 'Hightail Ale' on draft was the perfect choice.
The Napier's does everything a pub should, but does it perfectly. The bar staff are friendly and knowledgeable, to drink there's an interesting selection of beers and the ambiance is eclectic and welcoming - where else can my parents and such a crowd of my scumbag mates manage to mingle with the public? Oh and the food. The food's just want you want in a pub - big serves of well cooked, delicious grub at very fair prices. My steak was $23 and the burger I devoured half of was only $16, which all in all is pretty bloody good value. Back in Hong Kong - a land of happy, happy theme pubs and glitzy corporate bars - I'll miss the Napier, a true Melbourne pub.