Dec 4 2009
One problem with the city on a rainy Saturday night is the traffic. If you don’t want to contend with Melbourne’s public transport system, you’ll likely have to circumnavigate the CBD along with everyone else who’s searching for that elusive off-street car park.
Thankfully, there’s no such worry when heading to Nacional, a Mediterranean-inspired eatery, provedore and bottle shop from the same stable as city restaurant Syracuse. It’s out of the way—walking the tightrope between Albert Park and Middle Park—meaning you can dash out of the car and be settled in this slick, contemporary establishment without an entrée of silk dress à la raindrop.Nacional
36 Mills St (cnr Herbert St)
Nacional’s tapas menu is en vogue, its wait staff reasonably friendly and the chianti excellent— as was the procession of food that arrived as fast as two people could devour it:
Bread) Grilled flatbread
1) New Orleans–style BBQ prawns and grilled corn bread
2) two grilled lamb cutlets with a (not-very-woolly) mammoth green olive tapenade
3) regal soft-shell crab with mashed avocado and lime
4) roast pork belly with pickled watermelon rind.
The juicy lamb cutlets may have been the stand-out but, let’s face it, I was too busy hoeing into a mouthful of crab and avocado to arrive at a solid verdict.
Prefer to nurse a larger meal? A handful of mains are available, scribbled on the blackboard at the back of the restaurant. When the night’s special, spaghetti marinara, arrived at the table next door, Mr Tubbymaster’s tongue almost hit the floor.
‘The lamb was good,’ I responded, patting his arm.
- One word: Satisfied.
- Too many words: Two waiters stopped by to recite the specials.
- Three meals, one day: Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Four dishes: The perfect amount to feed two reasonably hungry people for dinner. Five dishes are probably too much … especially if you’re eyeing off dessert.