It’s always nice when friends suggest as gathering venues places that you’ve never heard of. One, because there’s no preconceptions cobbled together from reading far too many other reviews of it, and two, you get to see the places that your friends feel comfortable in, which is always a nice intimacy to share. So when Glenn suggested The Local Taphouse as the venue for his going away drinks before his relocation to New York, the intrigue of what the venue had in store distracted me slightly from the grief inherent in his leaving us all FOR(maybe)EVER! *sob*
It’s a big old pub that runs across several levels, with many a nook and secret spot. We bagsed a little balcony on the roof that we managed to all squish into, and my mind instantly turned to food.
The Local’s detailed menu runs the gamut from your standard pub meals to a few dishes that skew towards Asian influences – for instance, when was the last time you ordered pho alongside your pint? There were some interesting vegie options available; I lingered over the idea of the soba noodle salad with steamed eggplant and avocado, while later on in the night saw others order the vegie burger, which was a mighty meal indeed with a field mushroom stuffed with ricotta, surrounded by an ocean of beer-battered fries.
Jojo and I decided to share a few dishes between us from the selection of sides, which are totally big enough to easily fill you. First was the beer battered, Cajun-spiced thick cut frites. You can choose to have them without the Cajun spices, but where’s the fun in that? Especially as the Cajun spices make them even more more-ish than chips already are, we happily gobbled away at them.
The real winner, however, was the deceptively simple bowl of green beans with goats cheese and almonds. The beans were at their crisp best, the almonds had been slightly toasted so they had their natural husky flavour enhanced nicely, and… jeeze, I have goats cheese things a lot, don’t I? Well, it’s because it’s FREAKING DELICIOUS, and this was no different – very good quality nanny cheese, I was trying to surreptitiously spear as much of it onto my fork as possible, but was foiled by Jojo who was doing the same!
The Local takes it’s beer VERY seriously, which left me floundering slightly as I am definitely not a beer drinker. They did however also have Willie Smiths organic cider, a lovely, properly cloudy and most decidedly uncarbonated cider (I mean, if it’s an alternative to beer I’ll drink those bubbly ciders, but don’t pretend that they are anything close to real, traditional cider, just… no). If you do like beer, though, the beer ‘tasting platter’ was highly popular among our group – you choose five of The Local’s MANY artisan and niche beer varieties, that are then brought to you on a platter graded from lightest to heaviest. A gourmet beer experience!
The Local Taphouse is quite a nice surprise hidden away down south. Glenn mentioned that he chose the venue as the one most likely to lure his north dwelling friends across the river, and I can see why. I will definitely be keeping it in mind next time I’m thinking of a nice pubby get together on the south side.
The Local Taphouse
184 Carlisle Street, St Kilda East
Ph: 9537 2633