|The Mess Hall|
The Mess Hall
51 Bourke St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Ph: (03) 9654-6800
Up at the top end of Bourke Street, The Mess Hall is pretty nondescript. I must have walked past it dozens of times without noticing it, and the first time it caught my eye was out of sheer necessity. We'd just had dinner at nearby Shimbashi, followed by gelato at Spring Street Grocery. It was about 10 pm, and we weren't quite ready to call it a night, but definitely weren't up for hitting a nearby bar. (What can I say? I'm a grandma and sometimes even the notion of a nightclub or even a quiet cocktail bar is just too exhausting to contemplate!) We just wanted somewhere warm where we could sit and keep chatting. The Mess Hall was open and had a free table - success!
I felt a bit self conscious just ordering hot drinks, and checked with a waitress if it would be okay before we sat down, but there was no problem at all. Even though the four of us literally only ordered a cup of tea each, the staff were really friendly and super-chilled. So nice of them! The plates of food being delivered to nearby tables looked and smelled fantastic too, so we decided that we simply must come back and try their food.
And that's exactly what we did a couple of weeks ago on a Friday night! Cheers to the weekend!
A Campari soda was the tipple of choice for both Adrian and myself - although it was pretty funny, one came out obviously stronger (i.e. much redder) than the other... no idea why! We actually swapped after the first couple of sips because Adrian got the stronger one and found it too bitter, and I was dissatisfied with my insipid one. I want ALL OF THE CAMPARI!
Being super indecisive, we spent ages umming and ah-ing over the menu, which is a concise list comprising a few starters, some pizzas, pastas, salads and three "main plates", but all ended up choosing pasta or risotto. I actually threw out the receipt before writing up this post, and the menu online seems to be a bit out of date, so I don't have exact prices for the dishes, but the pastas and risotto were all around the $22 mark, and the dessert was about $11.
|Pumpkin-filled pasta with burnt butter, sage and amaretti biscuits|
|Risotto of the day - prawns, shrimp, fresh peas - $22.50|
|Chicken, ricotta & walnut tortellini w goats cheese and mushrooms|
|Orange chiffon cake|
Despite the dessert, we really liked The Mess Hall - they serve well made, tasty and unpretentious food in a relaxed yet buzzy environment. I'd definitely want to go back! Whilst the risotto and pastas we tried were indeed, very good, we saw a few plates of their pork belly dish being ferried around and it looked and smelled incredible!