While Griffs Wine Pub served good food at reasonable prices, somehow it didn’t manage to attract enough business to survive. Hopefully the folks behind the Town Hall Hotel (166 Johnston St, Fitzroy), which now occupies the former site of Griffs, is more successful.
This new eatery follows a similar formula, with upscale pub food, although probably aims a little higher. Even though we were sitting in the bar, we were able to order from a bar menu or restaurant menu. Both offer small, medium and large dishes.
On this occasion I chose a simple risotto of prawns with preserved lemon and basil from the primarily Italian menu, and it was cooked extremely well. The rice was a good texture, and the preserved lemon provided the right level of richness.
My girlfriend had the gorgonzola and honeyed pear risotto, was slightly heavier, but not as rich as the ingredients suggest, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A side of green beans with dried ricotta was executed perfectly, and complemented both dishes.
There were a couple of interesting beers from Pure South on tap, including a very tasty pilsner, and I expect that they might rotate the beer selection.
It wasn’t very busy on the Thursday we visited, while The Commoner up the road was heaving. However, based on this first visit, the Town Hall Hotel is doing all the right moves, and deserves to be successful.