The Grace Darling Hotel is one of those Melbourne institutions that everyone seems to have a story about.
From mid-week frothies with mates to Friday night pub crawls, catching one of the awesome gigs in the upstairs bandroom to long and lazy Sunday sessions, The Grace Darling Hotel is firmly entrenched in the minds of many.
Long considered one of the best pubs in Melbourne, The Grace Darling Hotel is the second oldest pub in town, not to mention a Smith Street icon. Built in 1854, The Grace Darling Hotel was named after the daughter of an English lighthouse keeper who became famous after rescuing survivors from a shipwreck. The nautical history is evident throughout The Grace Darling Hotel, with ships, anchors and rope themed interiors decorating the stylish space.
While many love The Grace Darling Hotel for its pumping bar and live music offering, it's the restaurant menu at Collingwood's best pub that we've really taken a shine to (come on, you know how much we love to eat!).
Taking it from your traditional beer-soaked pub to more of a gastropub (one of Melbourne's best in our humble opinion), the food at The Grace Darling is hearty, comforting and oh-so-moreish. Using fresh, local and sustainable produce, The Grace Darling has created a menu full of crowd-pleasing pub meals that perfectly combine tradition with a modern twist.
There are fresh oysters to start – either natural or mornay – along with yummy share plates that will really help you work up an appetite. The pea & mushroom croquettes and chargrilled tiger prawns with green olive paste are current faves, however we can never go past The Grace Darling's charcuterie board, which is served alongside housemade chutney and crusty bread.
When it comes to mains, a little heads up – it's pretty darn hard to choose. When you're faced with choices like perfectly cooked porterhouse steak, plated up in all its juicy glory with some aligot potatoes and vegetable timbale, or The Grace Darling Hotel's famous 'Inside Out' free-range chicken parmigiana , you'll know what we mean (the parma made it onto our list of the 50 best pub meals in Melbourne!). Slightly more fancy-pants fare, like the crispy salmon fillet with roasted root vegies and crayfish bisque, Southern fried duck leg with black eyed bean salad, and the eggplant and goats cheese lasagne with fennel salad, are equally as mouth-watering. Hey, don't say we didn't warn you!
The Grace Darling's menu is topped off with a great list of sides – triple cooked handcut chips or chargrilled corn with chilli and aioli anyone? – plus a short but sweet dessert offering that'll have the sweet tooth in you singing. We're hard-pressed to pick a fave, but if you're going to twist our arm, then we'd have to say go with the warm cherry and almond tart for the win. Heaven.
You know though how we said the menu was so good that it made settling on a dish a little tough? Well The Grace Darling Hotel has two options available that should help make the ordering process easier.
During lunch, The Grace Darling has a sweet special on offer where, for only $15, you get to choose from five different main pub meals (the Grace burger, porterhouse steak and crispy salmon fillet are among the options) and then wash it down with a Coopers beer. There's also a dinner set menu – simply decide whether you want two or three courses ($35 and $45 respectively) before making your selection from the 'best of' list of starters, mains and desserts. Too easy.
When it comes to the triple whammy of rockin' vibe, stellar drinks list and some of the best pub meals around, The Grace Darling Hotel delivers. Drop by for lunch, dinner, or even just drinks, and you'll leave in no doubt as to why they're rightfully one of Melbourne's best pubs.
Image Credit: Tash Sorensen and Ryan Noreiks for The Urban List
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