Fed Square has just added another bar on the river, and this one brings you more than just beers and barbecue
Finally, there’s a new outdoor bar on the Yarra, giving Riverland a run for its money. Pilgrim is set up right next to the old summertime favourite that pours endless pints and slings gut-busting snags, but offers something a little more refined. An extensive beer, wine and spirits list accompanies Pilgrim’s all-day menu, a spicy affair featuring harissa, zatar and chancho en piedra (a ground chilli sauce).
Pilgrim is fittingly named, given the crowd of backpackers meeting up for a session and families on their first holiday to Melbourne. There are a few high tables for two, but it’s mostly communal seating, which no one seems to mind sharing. If you’re hung over, be warned. The sun may be a natural cure, but this is a family-friendly venue and there are toddlers around on the weekends, ready to amplify your regret with random squeals.
Real estate is hard to come by, and punters swoop on empty chairs like seagulls to abandoned fries, so bring some mates to guard the table while you’re buying rounds. The wine list’s tasting notes strike a jocular tone. “You have to have an SB on the list, they said,” goes one, describing the Yarra Valley’s Gembrook Hill 2012 sauvignon blanc ($80 a bottle): “Australia’s best, there I said it.”
Prices are geared towards the tourist budget, but won’t leave you penniless if you drink smart. There’s an even split of Australian and European examples on the list for under $90 and all beers on tap are under $10. Innocent Bystander also have their sweet, pink moscato on the tap at $7 a glass – a sure sign that summer is coming.
The food at Pilgrim is a cut above standard: pan-fried potatoes with a spiced tomato sauce; a smoked eel and potato salad; cured pork products and pressed game served with relishes, mustard fruits and pickled vegetables; sardine, harissa and roasted carrot sandwiches; and sweets from the cabinet of North Melbourne’s Dolcetti. You can make a meal out of the menu, which is predominantly designed for group grazing, so expect your session at Pilgrim to go well into the night.
Pilgrim may draw the backpackers, but with a smart drinks list and an extensive food offering, you’ll be sure to see a lot more locals hanging out at Fed Square from now on.
Princess Walk, Vaults 15-19
|Opening hours:||Daily noon-late|