First impressions was that it was a welcoming, elegant bistro and our waitress was a warm and friendly lady from Leeds which is 45 minutes away from our UK home town. Always pleasant to be reminded of home.
As well as a lots of a la carte menu choices, there were also many dishes scribbled on a mirror which constituted the specials board.
- Smoked duck breast, onion tart, duck liver parfait
- Risotto of asparagus, truffled butter, waygu bresaola
- House made cottechino sausage with lentil salad and salsa verde (on the specials menu)
The smoked duck breast was probably the winner. Sweet onions, gamey duck and buttery, flaky pastry. Very decadent, very rich and very French. The risotto was also rich and decadent. Cheesy and oozy the Wagyu gave it a salty spike and the asparagus was a welcome contrast to the buttery depth of the rice. Too cheesy for Daddy Chan though.
The house made cottechino sausage (likened to white pudding) was probably the weakest dish. It was described to us as punchy and flavoursome but we found it bland and disappointing.
Main course wise Dad went with a special which was effectively steak and chips. Steve also went with a special which was a milk fed lamb dish with crumbed olive and carrots. And my choice was the rotolo of white rabbit, croccante of leg, garlic crème, peas, jus gras.
The steak and chips went down well. A classic executed well. Not rock my world well but well enough. The milk fed lamb split us. Too rich for me, too gamey for Dad but Steve liked it enough. The rabbit was the winner. Well done me for making good menu choices! The croccante was kind of like a scroll made with an eggy pancake and filled with rabbit meat. The garlic creme and jus added depth of flavour and the peas kept it light and fresh.
It was my birthday so dessert was called for so what better than birthday bombolini? Described on the menu as; Bomboloni – hot doughnuts, lemon custard, blueberry and ice-cream. Again the overall feeling was good enough. The doughnuts could probably have done with being a little softer and less cakey but the ice cream added some moisture.
Overall the Town Hall Hotel provided us with a pleasant experience. It's a good neighbourhood restaurant. Solid and I'd like to think dependable with friendly service. Unfortunately in a neighbourhood such as Fitzroy, sometimes solid is not quite enough to win repeat business. However, Town Hall Hotel offers a menu type that isn't that common in the area. Mario's also does pasta but it's a lot more cafe like. The Commoner offers a similar feel in terms of service and that sort of not quite fine dining experience but the food offered is different so there is a little slice of the market for this place that I hope it can leverage and retain.