Melbourne

Brunswick’s Railway Hotel Has Put Its Old Life Behind It

Say hello to your new late night boogie destination.

Photo: Kate Shanasy

You may recognise the Hotel Railway in Brunswick from those 2016 headlines, where the landlord of the Brunswick institution was busted trafficking drugs as a side business.

You might also recognise it as one of Brunswick’s most historically-rich locations, serving as many things—such as a morgue a hostel—as well as a popular drinking spot, over its 140-year lifespan.

But let me tell you, you might not recognise it now.

Having just re-opened to the public after a three-year hiatus, Melbourne hospitality collective, the Riverland Group (The Boatbuilders YardRiverlandPilgrim, the General AssemblyBang Bang at the Rifle Club), along with comedian Mick Molloy (random, but fab), have breathed new life into the site.

“Just like Brunswick, we want Hotel Railway to be a true gem of the north and reflect the suburb’s friendly, vibrant and creative vibe,” said Richie Ludbrook, co-owner of the Riverland Group.

“We also recognise that Brunswick is a ‘community of communities’, so we were keen to incorporate the flavours and influence of those who’ve migrated here into our menu, as well as highlight local produce.”

Walking into the newly refurbished pub, I barely recognised the place. Gone are the dingy hanging lights, the astroturf smokers area, the wooden trestle tables, the exposed brown brick. In its place is a spacious and light European warehouse space, complete with a Spanish terracotta courtyard, houndstooth patterned dining chairs, and an overall sleek, minimal and multidimensional space.

Photo: Kate Shanasy

“We wanted to pay homage to the people of Brunswick, and its rich history of immigrant culture,” Dave Sharry, another co-owner of the Riverland Group, told me on the night, “by including European elements in the decor and the menu.”

As for the space itself, there are five different dining spaces on offer, including a courtyard, pub casual dining, a dining room, beer garden, and a corner cocktail bar—which was a decision made after extensive research.

“We actually did a lot of research on the area and the kind of people that live here. We wanted to cater to our specific audience,” he says.

“We want this to be a space where your grandparents could come for a nice meal on a Sunday night, as well as somewhere you could come for a boogie and a cocktail late on a Saturday night.”

Photo: Kate Shanasy

“We’ve expanded the outdoor space to create an impressive beer garden, so Hotel Railway can be your favourite drinking hole rain, hail or shine,” Richie added.

They’ve kept many of the old features, celebrating the name and history of the original hotel, while also creating something fresh and new. Things like the original painted sign on the hotel’s facade and the original fireplace in the beer garden (which works and will be divine in winter) have been restored and remain in place.

“Being a multi-faceted venue was very important to us, given the importance of Hotel Railway to many throughout the years. We’ve kept pieces of history from the old Railway throughout, such as the original fireplace in the beer garden outside,” says Richie.

“Hotel Railway means a lot of different things to a lot of different people and it’s amazing to be able to breathe new life into the iconic venue and reconnect with returning patrons and new locals.”

On the menu, we devoured things like charred king prawns, housemade hummus, smoked cherry tomatoes, woodfire pizza, slow-cooked lamb shoulder and housemade pannacotta and peanut butter ice cream. The menu has Mediterranean undertones, taking elements from cultures that populate Brunswick, mostly being Greek, Italian and Middle Eastern cultures.

Photo: Kate Shanasy

From being an empty and slightly depressing site, to being one of the biggest hospitality venues in the north, with a capacity of close to 1000 people and a three-storey offering—I think it’s safe to say that Hotel Railway has had quite the turnaround.

Who doesn’t need a pizza, a cocktail and a late-night boogie in Brunswick on a Friday night? We know we do, and we’ve never really had the venue to make that happen until now.

On top of their impressive range of spirits, line-up of live DJs, epic cocktail and beer lists, plus their dedication to being Brunswick’s new local, the new Hotel Railway is keen on sustainability.

Showcasing their commitment to waste minimisation initiatives, the venue will utilise water-saving and chemical-free cleaning systems in the kitchens, utilise an on-site composting system, possess 45 solar panels and seek suppliers that use less packaging.

We really don’t have enough nice things to say about the new Hotel Railway. Seeing epic new venues pop up in already celebrated spots, and breathing life back into once lively hubs, is literally everything we could hope for in 2022.

Check out the new Hotel Railway here.

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Melbourne

The Best Sandwiches To Chow Down On In Melbourne

More than just ham and cheese.

Some say sandwiches are really having their moment, but did they ever go out of style? 

A sandwich is one of the world’s most simple culinary pleasures. Whoever first decided that putting stuff between bread means a yum time is a gosh darn genius. Although sandwiches can seem simple to make, there are people out there that have been studying the art of the sandwich and it shows.

The difference between a good sandwich and a shit sandwich is huge. We don’t want you to suffer, so we’ve put a list together of our favourite sandwiches in Melbourne.

Here are the best sandwiches in Melbourne right now.

Hanoi Hannah’s Drip Drop Banh Mi 

Windsor

The Drip Drop Banh Mi is Hanoi Hannah’s new lunch sandwich that is messy in all the right ways. Think white bread roll with a crispy crust and soft centre, laced with pâté and lemongrass satay sauce and a nice juicy hunk of lemongrass chargrilled chicken.

Most importantly, a warm pho-inspired gravy is served on the side to dip, drizzle or drown the sandwich. This mouth-watering sandwich is available from today, July 8, at Hanoi Hannah’s Windsor and Elsternwick locations. It’s crunchy, it’s messy, it’s fragrant and an all round multisensory, hands-on journey. Roll your sleeves up and get to it.

Dine in or take it home.

Photo: @nicos.melbourne

Nico’s Sandwich Deli’s Cubano

Fitzroy

Get your hands around this combo: smoked pork belly, grandma ham, original salad creme, picks, American mustard and cheese. Recommended to be eaten with pickled chilli and hot sauce, this Cubano is downright juicy in the best way. Nico’s Sandwich Deli has a rotating menu that heroes classic flavour combinations with a little twist. You can’t really go wrong, especially if you pair your sandwich of choice with one of their Malted Caramel Shakes. It’s a whole lotta yes.

You can dine in or take away.

Photo: @stansdeli

Specials at Stan’s Deli

Malvern

Every weekend, Stan’s Sandwich Deli put up incredible sandwich specials and honestly, we can’t pick a favourite. One week you might be dazzled by a veal schnitzel bun with tomato and fennel slaw, and the next you’ll get a Jerusalem artichoke toastie with aged parmesan, horseradish mayo and Guindilla peppers. Located in the lush streets of Malvern, Stan’s has a real diner-on-an-American-highway feel to it, but slightly more aesthetically refined, refill filter coffee and all. 

Dine in or take away.

Photo: @kingwilliam_takeaway

King William’s Brigadier

Flinders Lane

This sando pulls rank on the Colonel. From a hole-in-the-wall sandwich deli in Melbourne CBD’s Flinders Lane, comes a soft white roll filled with roast free-range chicken, crispy chicken skin, traybake stuffing, zucchini slaw and their infamous secret gravy. It’s the chicken rolls of all chicken rolls. You’ve never had a chicken sandwich until you’ve had King William’s Brigadier. It’s the perfect combination of juicy chicken breast and crispy chicken skin. Should I keep going? I can.

Only available for pick-up.

Photo: @saulssandwiches

Saul’s Muffuletta

Carnegie

The Italian stallion of sandwiches. Saul’s Sandwiches do some bangin’ bites – pretty much every sandwich they do, they do right. But the Muffuletta is a fan favourite and it’s off the charts. Think stacks of mortadella, artichokes, provolone cheese, salami, pesto, spinach and chilli. It’s an antipasto board in a sandwich and it’s goddamn good. 

You can dine in or takeaway.

Photo: @palette_melbourne

Palette’s Candied Bacon & Cheese

North Melbourne

Palette in North Melbourne is inspired by Korean aesthetics and lifestyle, and they aim to bring different cultures together. Everything about this place is beautiful and delicious (especially the coffee), but we can’t get past their Candied Bacon & Cheese sando. Imagine: scrambled eggs with corn, candied bacon, sliced cheese and chilli jam in toasted brioche. Uhhh. Name a better breakfast sandwich, we’ll wait.

Available to dine in or takeaway.

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