Corner Hotel

Let me sing you an ode to the Corner. Ahem:

“Oh Corner, with your sticky carpets like glue

That I am constantly in danger of getting permanently stuck to,

Hail to your stage, host to bands epic to hear;

And hail, too, to your kitchen and garden of beer,

Humble yet tasty, coloured with a flair never too purple

… I shouldn’t have used purple in the penultimate couplet, nothing rhymes with it.”

Poetry grant now, please.

Yes! To the Corner Muffin and I scurried last week for a gig, and is per our Corner tradition, we dined in the venue’s kitchen before the show. Although, apologies beforehand: we were a little distracted during our meal and my descriptions may not be as attentive as usual, as dining at the table next to us was the band that we were later to see that night, so we were a little less focused on the food and more on OH GOD, PLEASE DON’T LET US LOOK LIKE LAME-O’S, DON’T OBVIOUSLY LOOK AT THEM WHAT ARE YOU DOING, OH GOOOOOOD!

We are so cool.

Despite Melbourne still insisting on being horridly humid for this time of year, the Corner’s menu has turned distinctly wintery, although Muffin and I were both pleased to see that they have retained the refreshing spinach, macadamia, haloumi, white bean, beetroot and pear salad that we’d greatly enjoyed on a previous visit back in summer (seriously, that salad, AMAZING). I was really feeling the winter vibe, however, and went with a chalkboard special: mushroom and chestnut soup served with crusty bread. Muffin chose the smoked salmon with potato rosti and horseradish creme and pickled beetroot and dill salad (I have got to stop finding the sight of ‘creme’ in a menu so ridiculously funny, I blame you, Harvey Birdman). We also got a bowl of edamame to share, because together we are unable to refuse them.

Muffin’s salmon came out looking like a tall volcanic island of rosti and salad surrounded by a sea of salmon.Muffin gave thumbs up to the salmon, saying it was fresh and delish. The edamame were equally delish, and were served with a kind of salt I wasn’t familiar with – the menu said plain ol’ sea salt, yet it was in the shape of big, flat squares that had been crumbled over the top. Anyone have any idea what variety it could have been?

The mushroom and chestnut soup was chunky and hearty as all get out, filled with lovely mouth-melty shrooms (swiss brown, I would hazard to surmise), the chestnuts simmered to fluffy chunks of goodness, and a whirl of green herbs on the surface shot through with a drizzle of cream. Most welcome was the slab of crusty bread that I used to mop up what my spoon couldn’t catch. Does anyone else get a naughty thrill in using bread to soak up soup dregs and sauces? Often you’ve eaten the beginning of the meal with a sense of politeness and delicacy, then suddenly breadcrumbs start flying everywhere and it’s like you’re six again. Love it.

A very satisfying pre-gig meal at the Corner. And for foodies who may also be Mountain Goats fans (the band, not the beer), for the record… not that we were watching or anything, honest… we think John Darnielle ended up partaking of the chalkboard gnocchi special. Rock on!

Corner Hotel

57 Swan Street, Richmond