Sunday, 19 August 2012


211 Gertrude St, Fitzroy - ph: (03) 9417 7700

Wow, the Builders Arms Hotel has a very strong reputation to deliver on!

The team behind this (relatively) new addition to Gertrude St includes Andrew McConnell, Josh Murphy and Anthony Hammond. Andrew is the executive chef and co-owner of Cumulus Inc., Cutler & Co. (see our review here) and Golden Fields. Josh's CV includes head chef at Cumulus Inc., Three, One, Two, and Circa, the Prince (see our review here). Josh was recently awarded 2012 Young Chef of the Year by The Age. Anthony's past experience covers The Commercial Club Hotel and St Kilda’s Prince of Wales Hotel. You would expect these guys to know what they are doing.

 Neon sculptural decor throughout the restaurant 

The decor is very Cutler & Co. Minimalistic, mainly black & white, sophisticated. There is a good mix of pub-style high tables and dinner tables spread around, which makes the ambiance bubbly and fun. I felt the Builders Arms Hotel was a great place for a fun dinner with friends or after work drinks.

 Complimentary bread and olives served as were seated 

Service was unobtrusive and efficient without being too formal. Our waitress knew how to explain each dish was and made a good wine suggestion to go with my risotto.

Black rice, Jerusalem artichoke, sage and pecorino risotto ($23)

I absolutely loved the risotto. Very tasty with big chunks of artichoke throughout. The mild pecorino added lightness and a creamy texture to the dish that went well with the crispy, aromatic sage. 

Pork cutlet special ($34)

Hubby chose one of the day's special of pork with artichokes and spinach. He said it was the crispiest pork crackle he's ever tried. I also liked the combination of spices in his dish.

Home made ice cream ($4 each)

We finished our meal with a couple of scoops of their home made chocolate and fromage frais ice creams. I like both, but the chocolate ice cream was definitely a highlight - it kind of tasted more like a chocolate mousse: so soft, airy and rich. Highly recommended.

In sum, I can say that my high expectations for this Andrew McConnell restaurant were fully met. Food, atmosphere and service were excellent AND our meal was very reasonably priced. I'll be coming back.

Builders Arms Hotel Bar and Bistro on Urbanspoon


  1. If this place didn't have its so-called illustrious chef pedigree, would you rate this place as highly? The menu doesn't read exciting, and the photos that have come out of this place look just as average. It isn't offering anything particularly different to what is already available. Just saying...

  2. Hi Momo and Coco
    I get where you're coming from, but the chef's pedigree has actually the opposite effect on me - I expect that much more from renowned chefs! The food was truly faultless the night we visited. Simple dishes executed perfectly. I hope they keep up with the good work! Your comment on the photos is taken, I really need to upgrade the quality of the photos I put on the blog!
    By the way, loved your blog as well

    1. Hey sorry, our comment re photos of the food was not intended to be about the quality of the foods, but rather the appeal of the food itself. We couldn't care less about photography and prefer reading well-written reviews rather than reviews that are just glossy sponsored photos. That's why we prefer your type of blog compared to others. Hope that clarifies that comment. And you may have put some inkling in us to visit this venue. :)

    2. *typo* - quality of the photos.

  3. No worries! I do feel though that the photos we take don't always reflect the presentation of the food. Thanks for the nice comments and yes, do visit the bistro! I have made a booking for Moon under water next door and will be writing about it soon. Cheers