Mr Brownie Rooftop Hotel
Time Out says
Jessi Singh's curry pub brings four floors of fun to South Melbourne
In Mr Brownie, Jessi Singh has created a curry pub, craft beer store, cocktail lounge and rooftop bar in one. Similar to its sister restaurants, Mrs Singh, Daughter In Law and Horn Please, this one specialises in "inauthentic" Indian food. Specifically British-Indian pub grub.
“It’s the food that people think is Indian but it actually doesn’t exist in India,” explains Singh. He’s talking about diasporic staples like butter chicken, lamb vindaloo and chicken tikka masala, as well as more idiosyncratic British inventions such as butter chicken rolls, samosa burgers and curry chips.
There’s also beer, lots and lots of it. More than 1,000 craft brews, according to Singh, available on tap or from the on-site bottle shop (purchases can be cracked open anywhere on the premises for a $3 corkage fee). There are also several wines on tap including, unusually, pet nat. Pétillant naturel is a sparkling natural wine and Mr Brownie pours two of them for $10 a glass.
A tenner doesn’t just buy you an interesting drop at Mr Brownie, it also gets you two curries over rice to take home from the ground floor deli. If you’re eating in, you can upgrade to the $15 curry bento box which includes naan, pappadum and pickle. The deli is inspired by Punjabi Deli in New York’s East Village, a favourite hang of students, taxi drivers, immigrants and anyone looking for a good, cheap meal.
“The thing about Punjabi Deli is that it's affordable. I want to be part of the neighbourhood so I'm keeping that. The locals know you can come in here and get a good meal for $10,” says Singh. “It’s beer and curry. Simple, no frills.”
The food might be frill-free but the decor certainly isn’t. On the roof, there’s an open-air 1960s-inspired Tiki bar as well as a Hollywood Regency-style room filled with mid-century red velvet furniture from Singh’s personal collection.
The lavish red theme extends to the basement lounge, named the Boom Boom Room in honour of Singh’s favourite bar in San Francisco where he grew up. It’s all very extra and sexy, especially on Thursdays and weekends when there are DJs. One thing is clear: Mr Brownie is here for a good time.