HUNTER & BARREL – EASTLAND, RINGWOOD

Where do all the carnivores go? Well, Hunter & Barrel of course. The launch of Eastland’s town square, brings to Ringwood a new dining precinct that embraces Melbourne’s food scene. Hunter & Barrel is one of the dining offerings – courtesy of the Seagrass Boutique Hospitality Group – aka the folks that brought us The Meat & Wine Co and Ribs & Burgers across Melbourne & Sydney. The concept of the ‘Hunter’ evokes imagery of taxidermied trophies. The concept of the ‘Barrel’ summoning thoughts of endless craft beverages and boutique wines. Never fear, the carnivorous appeal is not as macabre as an American dentist off to his next kill. The atmospheric ambiance is warm and buzzing, with communal groups clinking wine glasses and sharing ginormous platters of meat. This one is definitely for the meat lovers.

Diners can expect a mix of artisanal food, combined with inventive cocktails. The evening began with a fat-washed vodka, a contemporary cocktail technique that adds savoury flavour to spirits. The end result is a fruity-sweet concoction, with a hint of smoothness emanating from the fat-wash. Starters began with chicken wings in a sweet & sour sauce, the crusty sourdough ideal for soaking up the meaty juices. Combined with cultured butter, smother to your heart’s content, with a side of juicy corn. The Hunter’s Feast gives diners the option of choosing 4 salads/sides. The impressive platter arrives with coiled sausages and an array of meats, cooked over a signature coal grill. Think slow-roasted beef rib falling off the bone, coal roasted chicken, and crispy pork belly. Slice open the cheese stuffed Kransky and enjoy the slight spiciness of the wagyu sausage. The platter arrives with all sorts of saucy accompaniments to liven up the meaty profile. This surely is a carnivore’s heaven?

Dessert is reminiscent of S’mores melted over a crackling campfire. The pornographic dish arrives in a hot pan, with a layer of marshmallows melted over a hidden layer of chocolate. Slightly toasted, the end result is a sickly-sweet mess of overindulgence. Check out that ooze…

Hunter & Barrel takes shopping centre dining to the next level. Steve Scott, operations manager says the focus is on ‘creating a unique, comfortable and fun experience for our guests at Hunter & Barrel – every choice we have made, from the cooking style to the plateware to our sequence of service were designed with this spirit in mind.’ With its unique hunter-esque decor combined with a buzzing atmosphere, the objective has certainly been achieved. Grab a couple of your meat-loving mates and get ready to enter a carnivorous food coma.

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