Located in the heart of Fitzroy, on the corner of Johnston Street and Napier Street. PROFILED BY DE GROOTS MEDIA
The unassuming facade of Town Hall Hotel, located on a quiet street in Fitzroy, gives diners little inkling of what to expect inside its walls. From owner and Hatted Chef Harry Lilai, Town Hall Hotel (THH) combines hearty Italian food with warm good-old hospitality.
There’s a relaxed vibe at THH with the space effortlessly designed and sparsely decorated, with bare white walls and worn timber flooring. It’s the sort of place you could easily stay at for a few hours on a leisurely weekend lunch. Downstairs, a dimly-lit cellar houses a private dining area and one of Melbourne’s most extensive wine collections north of the river.
The simplicity in the dining room lets the food speak for itself. A contemporary version of home cooking coupled with refined restaurant technique ensures Lilai’s reputation is upheld. Start with the chickpea battered oysters, served in the shell, on a bed of pickled fennel. Crisp on the outside and with the essence of the sea still packed inside, the flavours are clean and approachable, as is the plate of paper-thin bresaola that follows - piled with beef tartar and parmesan shavings. Larger courses see pumpkin and ricotta stuffed generously into silky ravioli and a robust osso bucco utilises saffron-laced risotto Milanese to soak up the remnants of sauce.
To end, you can’t go wrong with the tiramisu or fluffy bomboloni, but for something more contemporary, try the coconut panacotta with pineapple salsa looking very 50 shades of white in it’s frosted glass.
A relaxed ambience, good food and quality wine set the Town Hall Hotel apart in Fitzroy, a place you could easily keep returning to, especially for more of those oysters.
Aphrodite Vlahos FUNCTIONS
The Town Hall Hotel offers a myriad of function options, with a spacious upstairs area can cater for 70-seated guests or up to 120 cocktail style, a private dining area on the main floor for up to 30 guests or the downstairs cellar which can offer complete seclusion amongst the restaurant’s prized wine collection for up to 14 guests.