Photography by Amy Weavell
If you’ve never stepped foot inside this hotspot, then expect to be awash with an immediate appreciation of The Carlton’s safari-themed sophistication. The jungle-inspired decor is subtle and perfectly unobtrusive, offering a neat twist on the elegant lounge vibe many venues go for.
Every inch of the place is simply gorgeous and pleasing to the eye, its popularity well-earned on aesthetics alone. Still, no venue gets by merely on good looks – it’s as much about tastes, too.
The Carlton’s cuisine is, in part, informed by its location. Based smack-bang in the heart of Melbourne, it makes sense that the venue would try to cater for every taste. A tall order, certainly – but The Carlton more than step up to the plate with a diverse, crowd-pleasing menu, featuring several pub favourites.
Whether you’re after a superb parma or flavourful porterhouse steak, The Carlton has you covered. To sweeten the deal, there’s weekly specials on offer, too, making the familiar feeds tough to beat. Still, if you have the extra shrapnel to spare, you simply have to indulge in the premium picks. Dishes like the succulent pan roasted duck breast – paired with confit duck leg, radicchio, fig and hazelnuts – see The Carlton really flex its fine-dining muscles. Their ocean trout, with soba noodle salad, heirloom tomatoes, pickled mussels, yuzu and squid ink is as colourful as it is tantalising. The fancier mains are an eye-catching, perfectly-executed ensemble of flavours that will ensure you leave the plate as if polished clean.
For those after something lighter, the venue’s diverse selection of bar snacks are each pleasing in their own right. Highlights include the pork belly (its pineapple and chilli salsa a delectable touch), as well as the bourbon glaze marinated chicken wings – a dish bound to tempt anyone that catches the snacks glistening under warm light.
It’s these things and more that make up an exciting new era for The Carlton, boasting a recently re-jigged menu with new taste sensations begging to be discovered. On that note, it’s certainly worth mentioning the popular new addition of Super Fluid, an organic cold-pressed juice bar. How many other venues offer both a hangover and the ideal cure?
Based just outside the hustle-and-bustle of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival epicentre, The Carlton resembles an ideal break spot between shows, with its exquisite menu a huge bonus.