Just add Beer
Pubs across the globe are changing and have changed, for the better in my opinion. No longer relying on familiar surroundings, fair dinkum beige food and predictable drinks. The French worked this out centuries ago with bistros, brassieres and restaurants all requiring their own charm, clear and defined levels of eating and drinking for the wider community to celebrate.
This takes me to Carlton, one of the original social playgrounds of Melbourne. There are many interesting hospitality developments happening here, and being a stone's throw from the city is a great thing! A case in point is Markov (est. 2005), a market leading quiet achiever who doesn't rest on their laurels. With their considered approach and urban cool, they would flourish in any city. Perhaps the secret is the decor, or the humble 'keeping it real' but professional approach of the staff. Something many new age Pub groups forget, which really made an impression on our recent visit.
Markov is a no reservations venue, 'boo hiss' I hear you say! However, it is appropriate as it is a big joint with plenty of space. Whether it's a first date, a catch up with mates, after work drinks, or a celebration with the whole family, Markov offers comfort and plenty of options to suit your night out or function. The experience doesn’t change, you are in control, and the venue and staff always deliver.
Drinks come first at Markov, with considered local draught beer options, intellectual packaged beer, and food friendly international and local wines - there are no trendy speakeasy brown spirit cocktails that we are starting to see in Sydney too. This is for Carlton and locals first! You’re welcome to sample and discuss the merits of all the draught beers.
The food is designed to complement and is terrific!
Everything we tried was faultless. We started with the cheeky named Our friend Luke makes hot chicken wings. We stole them ($9). Thank you Luke, we loved them! And this type of food genre, with the range of beers and cool New York inspired warehouse vibe, all felt very appropriate. I was hoping for more of a low and slow BBQ, which we don’t see enough of in Sydney or Melbourne yet!
The burger looked like it would rock and my wife, like most of us, loves a Schnitzel ($25). But, being a Pom (no cricket jokes please!), I went for the new age fish & chips that is described as rockling, bacon, peas and chickpea chips ($26). This dish in the hands of a fair dinkum kitchen could be a disaster, but thanks to the Markov kitchen it was a triumph of modern Australian cooking. Perfectly moist meaty fish, sweet-sour braised minty peas, wonderful light and crisp chickpea polenta type chips. My wife’s main would have pleased the schnitzel police, bigger plates were the only request for all the condiments to keep the peace!
After a couple of pints (it’s been a while, honest guvenor!), I was full and desert seemed odd with the experience - perhaps teach the talented chefs more BBQ I thought! The dessert list was 3 including cheese, so coffee and donuts ($8) it was, lemon & ginger w passionfruit curd to be precise. And precise they were, terrific and faultless!.
It was a great food experience, service is DIY but still attentive, you order and pay at the bar! I’d go back at the weekend when the music’s louder, hip hop please, order a hot wings, killer burger and a few important local brews whist catching up with some mates. Or early in the week when the vibe is lovely and local.
One of our best bars, pubs, gastro pubs, eateries, joints in town, lucky Melbourne!
What Wilson says - Local talent and design quality on tap
When can we go - Mon: Closed; Tue - Thu: from 5pm; Fri: from 12noon; Sat - Sun: from 3pm;