Little Hunter : 195 Lt Collins St, Melbourne CBD

August 26, 2013 at 9:23 pm (American, Melbourne CBD, Victoria)

Little Hunter

Sliding seamlessly into Melbourne’s culinary scene, Little Hunter is an American-style grill that introduces some luxury to the fried chicken- and burger-fuelled US food craze that has swept through the city.

Finding it is a task in itself.  Located through an inconspicuously signed entrance on Little Collins St, behind sheet metal doors, down a flight of metal stairs and around a couple of corners to the right is a moody, bunker-like basement that brings New York underground dining to Melbourne.  The design concept can be described as modern warehouse conversion cross old-money gentlemen’s club with a  splash of farmhouse country charm paying homage to Little Hunter’s ethos of respecting producer and provenance.

Little Hunter - Bar

Little Hunter - Dining Room

Little Hunter - Menu

American chef Gavin Baker’s dishes are definitely faithful to the menu headlines – harnessing the best of quality produce with simple, thoughtful flavours – and not at all influenced by co-owner Pete Evans’ healthy eating message.  There’s no buttermilk fried chicken here but your poultry-based dose of cholesterol comes in the form of chicken skin butter served with Little Hunter’s house-baked bread; a sweet, more-ish, brioche-style mini-loaf, glossy crust studded with cheddar and ridged for easy-tear sharing.

Little Hunter - Pumpernickel Bread

Small plates come in the form of puffy pork crackling teamed with cheddar and apple sauce, golden fried hush puppies filled with plump lobster meat with vinegar butter for dipping (we just slathered them in more of that chicken skin butter…) and a much-lauded ‘beef on toast’ ensemble of chicken liver parfait, wagyuu and tartare sauce that will be saved for a return visit.

Little Hunter - Lobster Hush Puppies

The meat-dominated mains menu delivers on its promise to ‘showcase the animal’.  Quality meats enhanced by the distinctive woody and smoky flavours developed by smoking and charcoal cooking make for steaks that you simply can’t pass up.  Served with minimal fuss, two or three additional ingredients on the side, less is definitely more in this case.  The David Blackmore Wagyuu Flank is a flavour-packed piece of meat, perfectly charred on the outside and pre-sliced to display the juicy, medium rare interior, served with half an avocado topped with a spicy, crunchy cajun crumb for a brilliant textural contrast.

Little Hunter - Wagyu Flank

The Cape Grim Filet Mignon is easily one of the best steaks I’ve tasted in a while; two thick rounds of firm but tender beef with complex flavours delivered by a coffee and wood smoke.  On the side is half a grilled king brown mushroom, a blank slate for a rich cheese sauce slathered over the top.

Little Hunter - Filet Mignon

From the oven, wood-roasted saddleback pork is a killer of a dish; succulent slices of roast pork served on a bed of kale, with a syrupy sweet, zingy cider vinegar sauce to cut through the richness of the pork fat and abundant crackling.

Little Hunter - Roast Pork

Side dishes provide a snapshot of Americana; think fries with ‘fry sauce’, grits, grilled corn and sticky, sweet roasted yams and chimchurri sauce to accompany your roast meats.

Little Hunter - Roasted Yams

Grilled cabbage is a surprise hit; served as a thickly cut slab drizzled with hazelnut vinegar, sweetness enhanced by the salty hit of blue cheese and anchovy.

Little Hunter - Grilled Cabbage

As difficult as it may sound, please make room for dessert.  Licorice ice cream is a presented as a blue-ish grey sphere atop a bed of ‘milk crumble’, candied citrus peel and ‘bee pollen’ shards.  The crumble is a frozen vanilla sponge, resembling pebbles that dissolve in your mouth, the Milky Bar flavour a brilliant pairing with the lightly sweetened ice cream.  And I don’t even like licorice…

Little Hunter - Licorice Ice Cream

The drinks menu comprises a fair selection of beers/ciders on tap and by the bottle, imported and local wines and cocktails.  You can trust the staff to make some good recommendations and they are also accommodating with specific requests.  Non-alcoholic fruity concoctions are available to provide a refreshing sugar hit and the kiddies (and young-at-heart) will appreciate the option of ordering a Dora the Explorer or Paddington Bear.

Little Hunter - Martini

Little Hunter - Jessica Rabbit

Excellent, very interesting food, teamed with great ambience and good service; Little Hunter is simply brill. and I will most definitely be returning for more.

 
Little Hunter on Urbanspoon
 

Advertisements

2 Comments

  1. Jo Prior said,

    a very fair and balanced review – congratulations Kath – cheers Jo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: