PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
This part of Collingwood hasn't been gentrified like North Fitzroy or nearby Clifton Hill. Its streets tend to be narrow, lined by single storey houses that match the lanes in terms of their stature. The Leinster Arms fits snugly into such a street, possibly because it too is a single storey building, which is unusual for a pub that was built back in 1865. But there is more to the Leinster Arms than you might think. The bar area is dark, as befits an old speakeasy, but the restaurant is situated in a glass-covered atrium, with a patterned paved floor, stripped brick walls and potted plants.
The menu contains some of the usual pub favourites like schnitzel and steak and there's also a blackboard listing the day's specials. The menu choices however are worthy of a grander restaurant – beef carpaccio, spaghetti marinara and veal with a creamy mushroom and shallot sauce with potato roesti are just some of the tempting spoils. The house speciality is a beauty sporting a huge bowl of mussels, pipis and crab swimming in a broth enlivened by tomato, garlic, basil and just enough chilli. Chef Frank Mignani has a good hand with fish, a talent which shines through in the grilled John Dory fillets served with hand-cut chips and a mixed green salad. The Leinster Arms might be a pub restaurant but kids still get a look-in with their own menu and the snacks menu is great for those after a quick bite. There are a range of interesting beers and a small but exceptionally well chosen wine list that manages to cover a variety of styles and regions, all at fair prices.