How do you elevate the humble pub grub? Fiery buffalo wings and cheesy nachos are popular bar staples for many reasons—bite-sized, savoury laden, and unpretentious. But somewhere in the River Valley ‘hood, craft beer specialist Nickeldime has devised an inventive menu of gastropub food that’s a dream match with ales and lagers.
Hidden Door Concepts’ Chief Executive Chef Tim Ashwood helms the contemporary bar joint, whose resume includes past stints at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester in London and Hotel Plaza Athénée in Paris. The South Australian exercised his decade-long experience in the French dining scene to inject a refined palate to rustic comfort food.
With 16 distinctive and thirst-quenching craft beers always on tap, there’s no reason not to pair a drink for every dish you’ve ordered. Afraid of a mismatch? Chat up with Chef Ashwood or the Nickeldime crew for recommendations. Or if inhibitions linger in your bones still (you SHOULD get a drink), reference our pairing guide below.
1. Scotch Eggs in Stout Brown Sauce + Stone & Wood Green Coast Lager
A quintessential bar snack with English origins, Nickeldime’s interpretation is wrapped in smoked streaky bacon and served with a caramelised traditional English brown sauce and dark chocolate stout mix. The slow fermented Stone & Wood Green Coast Lager from Byron Bay adds a soft malty palate and sets the tone for the rest of your meal.
2. Pickled Beetroot & Witlof Salad + Tuatara Coastin’ Session IPA
Using maple syrup and sherry vinegar for the pickled mixture, the roasted tangy beetroot is tossed with witlof and candied hazelnuts that result in an appetizing crunch that’ll fulfil your vegetable intake for the day. On the side, a glass of refreshing Tuatara Coastin’ Session IPA will wrap this dish up with a clean finish. Notes of passionfruit, melon & mango & a herbal spice from sides of the Tasman Sea.
3. Croque Madame + Pirate Life Mosaic IPA
Chef Ashwood does a contemporary take on this classic dish from the brunch menu by layering house-made leavened brioche with dijon mustard, an IPA cheese blend, and spiced béchamel. An over easy and greens joins the stacked party too. On standby is the Pirate Life Mosaic IPA. With a big juicy tropical fruit flavour, this beer packs a punch with a long & complex finish with little bitterness because of its low malt content.
4. Confit Duck Waffle + Heart Of Darkness Directors Cacao Porter
The crispy and buttery French staple is given a Nickeldime makeover with cheddar & thyme-infused waffle, candied bacon and a fried egg. The protein in this all-day brunch dish, the duck, has a crusty exterior while retaining a tender and moist texture on the inside. Wrap up your meal with the limited Heart Of Darkness Directors Cacao Porter. This Vietnamese twist on a typically American style of beer has strong dark chocolate notes with hints of red berries.
Interior-wise, Nickeldime River Valley’s exposed brick walls and graffiti art reflect the creative energy of Melbourne’s hidden alleys and streets. The preserved industrial high ceilings, wooden beams and unique sunroof of the shophouse emphasize a laidback and casual taproom atmosphere. So diners, throw your worries away and don’t stop at a glass.