They say everything happens for a reason, and truer words couldn’t have been spoken when Kyal and I found ourselves at Whitehart Bar in Melbourne. After surviving the crowds at the annual AFL Grand Final parade, we headed to our favourite lunch spot, only to find it closed. We were desperate for a feed, but I have a strict “no fast food” rule when we’re in the city. Basically f it’s food I can order back home, it’s a no go. So we decided to wander the streets in search of a nibble. Heading down Little Bourke Street, we both happened to turn our heads down a laneway. The bar we spotted immediately caught our eye, and once we saw (and smelt) Bluebonnet Barbecue serving up scrumptious meat plates, our decision was made.
Whitehart Bar is car park turned container bar that encompasses everything magnificent in Melbourne. Street art, fine craft beer, unique food, exquisite cocktails, great music and even better company. It greets you with collage themed street art on your left, and a food truck on your right. Then it expands into an open, tall and communal gathering space. Structured with thick metal framing and exposed bricks with overgrown foliage, it’s industrial vibe draws you in instantly. We rocked up when late lunch met early evening nibbles, so the place was quiet. Being the AFL Grand Final public holiday, and with Richmond in the running to win, there were a number of tables reserved for later on.
While Kyal and I happened to stumble upon this laneway gem, Whitehart has a bit of a trendy rep amongst Melburnians. Halfway through my first cocktail, Kyal nudged me and whispered ‘I think your friends are here.’ Initially I scoffed. Being fresh from Pert, I haven’t had the time to establish a solid group yet, so who on earth could these ‘friends’ be? A few seconds later, figures stood over me. I recognised the girls immediately – my friends Annabel and Roya from my days at Curtin University. They say everything happens for a reason and it really does. If our favourite lunching spot had still been open, we wouldn’t have ended up at Whitelane. We wouldn’t have added another favourite to our list of go-to eateries. We wouldn’t have bumped into Annabel and Roya. And we definitely wouldn’t have had the fantastic night we did.
Before we found a table, and way before we bumped into Annabel and Roya, we ordered a Big BBQ Plate from Bluebonnet, as well as a couple of drinks from the bar. Kyal wanted to try a new craft beer while I eyed off the cocktails. In the end I made a rushed decision, choosing a cocktail I hadn’t even read properly: the All Created Equal. Made with Laird’s Applejack, Cognac, Sweet Vermouth, Grand Marnier and PX Sherry it was strong but it was smooth. I always found myself going for another sip. Looking back over their cocktail menu now, I still can’t make an educated decision on what I’d drink. Everything listed is a concoction of mixed foreign flavours. Nevertheless, I’m sure they all taste divine if they’re anything like All Created Equal.
Food wise, we were in heaven when we loaded our slices of bread with Bluebonnet’s rustic BBQ sauce, smoked Berkshire pulled pork and apple and celeriac slaw. While there wasn’t enough bread to repeat with the black angus beef brisket, on its own it was tender and produced sensational flavours all on its own. To top it off, the plate also includes a creamy russet potato salad. Honestly I could’ve eaten a whole bowl of the potato salad on it’s own.
If you ever have the chance to explore Melbourne, Whitehart bar should definitely be at the top of your list! Have you explored Melbourne before? Let me know your favourite spots in the comments so I can check them out!