Welcome to Hell

Hell of the North

135 Greeves Street, Fitzroy

Hell of the North

He says
When Margaret suggested Hell of the North for our friendly Saturday dinner, I was excited. Not because I’ve got my finger on the culinary pulse of Melbourne, far from it, but because I’m a shameless Broadsheet ambulance chaser.  The pictures looked good, it was near Smith Street, and it has a yellow door. What more could you want?

The four of us arrived for dinner and were seated almost straight away, which is a nice change from standard Melbourne dining nowadays. We were seated to the side of the bar where we were able to view the mayhem caused by intermingling diners and bar goers in the same area. Although the fit out was aesthetically pleasing, the rambunctious amount of noise coming from the bar made it almost impossible for us to talk for the first half of the evening. That and it was almost too difficult to access the facilities through the small groups of wine drinking 30somethings.

Apart from the noise, I really enjoyed dining at Hell of the North. The menu was elegantly straight forward, but they had a number of items that you’ll still be umming and ahing over before you order. The beer menu was good (I had the Murray’s Whale Ale), but you can see they’re primarily targeting the wine drinkers. I particularly liked the kifler potatoes roasted with duck fat, and the pecan nut blondie was gluttonously delicious. A great location for a date, as you’ll have to get up nice and close to talk.

Hell of the North

She says
On Saturday night  we decided to head out to Hell of the North, a new restaurant/bar in Fitzroy that I’d read about online during the week, for dinner. We arrived just after 7 and found that it was busy, but luckily there was a table ready about 5 minutes later.

Hell of the North is in the old bluestone Lambs go bar building off Smith Street. The inside has been revamped with a lot of wooden accents and exposed light globes. There’s a warm, intimate atmosphere that I really enjoyed. The one thing I didn’t enjoy so much was the noise. We were seated in the front room across from the bar area and it was loud, I guess that’s to be expected from a restaurant/bar though. I was a little confused by the restaurant/bar divide, to be honest it felt a little bit like a restaurant that happened to have a lot of people standing around drinking in it. Not necessarily a bad thing, I think I was just confused because of the slightly unusual layout with the bar area sitting in between multiple dining areas.

The service was very friendly, if not super efficient. I wasn’t timing but it would have been over an hour between ordering and receiving our mains. I wasn’t worried about the speed though, especially given that the guy who seated us was very upfront about letting us know that it was their first week and they were still finding their feet and sorting out issues. I appreciated the up-front approach and am sure that with a little extra practice the service will definitely speed up.

As you’ll see below I really enjoyed the food and was particularly excited that they serve a cut down version of the menu right through until 1am. Having spent more post-midnight hours than I can count sitting at Supper Club and Siglo over the last few years, I’m always excited by somewhere with a proper late night menu, even if it doesn’t include croque monseiurs. On second thoughts, the lack of croques is probably a good thing given that I never seem to think that they’re a sensible and diet-friendly choice until at least 3am.

We ate
We shared 2 of the starter, first up was the whitebait with aioli ($12). The whitebait were crunchy and tasty.

Whitebait, Aioli

We also shared the olive and artichoke bruschetta ($10). This was probably the only miss for us. To be honest, we couldn’t really distinguish the olive, it really just tasted like hommus.

Olive & Artichoke Bruschetta

For my main I had the larger serve of the gnocchi with pumpkin, sage and onion pesto ($22). The gnocchi was great, the texture was just right. At first I thought that the serve was a little on the small side but found that it was very filling.

Gnocchi, Pumpkin, Sage & Onion Pesto,Parmesan

Geard had the pork cotaletta and coleslaw ($26). The pork was fine but Gerard thought that the coleslaw was the real highlight of the dish.

Curley’s Pork Cotaletta & Coleslaw

Colin Hill had the rump cap with potato fondant and portobello mushroom chimmichurri ($28). He said that the meat was delicious, if verging on the rarer side of medium-rare. Still, better rarer than over done.

Rump Cap, Potato Fondant, Portobello MushroomChimmichurri

PE went for the linguine vongole ($24) and said that it was one of the best seafood pastas he’s had in a long time. It was a little light on the pasta, but again, probably better to be light on the pasta than the seafood.

Linguine Vongole

We shared a side of kifler potatoes roasted with duck fat ($8). They were crispy on the outside and very light for something cooked in duck fat. They were a little more solid on the inside than I would normally like, but Gerard loved them. Each to their own.

Kifler Potatoes Roasted with Duck Fat

We decided that we could go dessert, so we shared a couple between us starting with the chocolate and guinness cake with milk ice cream ($12). The cake was really good, dense and moist. Does anyone else hate the word moist as much as I do? It’s really an awful word, unfortunately unavoidable given how well it describes this cake though.

Chocolate & Guinness Cake, Milk Ice Cream

Our second dessert choice was the pecan nut blondie with white chocolate ice cream and caramel sauce ($12). It was amazing. Easily the best part of the meal for me. I would have licked the last of the caramel sauce off the plate if I wasn’t in public, even in public I was seriously tempted.

Pecan Nut Blondie, White Choc Ice Creamwith Caramel Sauc

Final word
Good food, good service and a good atmosphere. For somewhere that’s only been open for a week, it’s ticking all the boxes. If this is Hell, sign me up.

Hell of the North on Urbanspoon

This entry was posted in Eating out and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • Maki Pavlidis

    When dining at Mamasita’s I’ve often felt the same – that we’re in a restaurant with a lot of people standing and drinking in it. It makes me feel uneasy.

    I love how they’ve iced the moist Guinness cake after it’s been sliced. All the dishes look very alluring.

    • twomunch

      It’s particularly unnerving when they’re giving you the evil eye to try and hurry you up. Well, that’s what I do when I’m standing at the bar waiting for a table.