Pier 35 Bar & Grill, 263-329 Lorimer St, Port Melbourne. Phone: 9646 0606
It’s a bleak, bitterly cold Melbourne winter’s day, so undoubtedly there are better times for visiting Pier 35 Bar & Grill.
But as it turns out, for a school holiday treat that is affordable and tasty, our visit could hardly be bettered.
For starters, the place is nice and warm!
And it’s classy, with very good service, in a way that we don’t come across too often in our trawling of the western suburbs.
Even better, a big ship cruises past just as our meals arrive.
The waterfront vistas are unremittingly grim and industrial, but even that strikes us as a change of scenery worth savouring.
Pier 35’s menu gravitates towards Italian food and steaks, with an assortment of other influences.
Main courses generally hover between the mid-$20s and mid-$30s and up to the mixed grill for $48.
We, of course, hone right in on the lunch menu, which has a longish list of meals for $14 and is available seven days a week.
The line-up includes fish and chips, calamari salad with red capsicum pesto, and grilled lamb skewers with cabbage salad, pita bread and tzatziki.
The BLT is described as “classic” yet comes with chicken – which strikes me as something of a contradiction.
I’m unsurprised Bennie orders it anyway – it’s a winner, too.
The chips – there’s just enough of them – are crunchy and good.
The chicken looks like it should have that nifty charcoal flavour. Not so, says he, who describes it as “just chicken”.
The bacon, though, is of high quality, there’s lots of it and it’s well cooked.
Good, thick bread, mayo, lettuce, tomato – I put it to Bennie that this is probably the best BLT he’s ever had.
He doesn’t disagree.
Ordering seafood pasta from a $14 menu may seem like pure folly, so I’m very happy to announce that my seafood spaghetti “with market fresh seafood, garlic, white wine and basil” is fantastic.
As you’d expect, there’s only a modest amount of seafood – a couple of fat prawns, two smallish mussels, some salmon, a chunk of calamari, some other fish of a broken-up and indeterminate nature.
But it is indeed very fresh, as well as beautifully cooked and delicious.
But the best part is the pasta itself – it’s immersed in a sauce that is decadently, almost obscenely, oily; there’s garlic overkill that is nevertheless just right; fresh tomato bits add texture; and, best of all, all is imbued with a delightful wine flavour.
No basil to speak of, but I’m a long way from complaining – I love my lunch.
Pier 35 presents as a really cool option for western suburbanites looking for a change from injera, pho or curries.
And, based on our lovely budget meals, could be that the more formal side of the restaurant is worth a look, too.
Check out the full Pier 35 menu here.