The Dining Haul

Restaurants Elwood
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There's some sexy seafood coming out of Elwood, Dan Stock reckons

As recently as last year, the well-heeled denizens of Elwood were hardly spoilt for dining choice. Then along came Geoff Lindsay with his refined take on modern Asian flavours at Dandelion and the queues quickly formed.

This new Ormond Road restaurant/bar comes with some serious hospo smarts. It’s the first venture by industry stalwart Charlie Sirianos, who, after selling Syracuse, decamped to New York, fell in love with the super fresh seafood espoused at such low-key cool eateries as Mary’s Fish Camp and returned to Melbourne inspired.

There’s a maritime theme here, but thankfully the design is less argh-me-hearties-shanty-n-scurvy and more Daryl Hannah in Splash. It’s all blonde timber, clean lines and buoy-shaped light shades (you’ll never run aground on a light fixture again) hanging above the gleaming white communal table.

It’s a kiddy ‘hood, so there’s small food like pasta with mushy peas and fish'n'chips for $10. On the regular menu by head chef Alasdair Beattie you’ll find little things from the “short haul” menu including crisp flathead fingers, salmon and leek croquettes, and pickled ocean trout rollmops – usually a herring dish. A pot of plump, mid-sized mussels, in a classic white wine, garlic and onion sauce, prove good (almost too good) to share, though more crostini would be welcome.

But it’s not all surf. There’s also turf. Go the pulled lamb salad: the lamb shoulder is cooked for 12 hours until it falls apart then served with borlotti beans, sharp feta and peppery rocket, all tossed together with a terrific mint-heavy salsa verde.

Set sail for this casual diner and hit 'em up for an easy mid-week meal.

Venue name: The Dining Haul
Address: 86-88 Ormond Rd
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 7.30am-late
Transport: Nearby stations: Elsternwick
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