Restaurant reviews Bohemian

Art posters papered over the stark concrete exterior

One of the earlier restaurants to open on Melbourne’s South Wharf precinct, Bohemian seems to have carved out a niche, especially with the local office workers. Having only sat down there for an after-work drink with a friend, nibbling on a dish of olives, Greedy Girl promised herself she’d go back and try some of the appetising-looking plates.

It took a while, but a recent ‘date night’ with gluttonous husband provided the perfect opportunity. Both of us recovering from nasty colds, all we needed to do was literally cross the road and we were gazing at the restaurant’s façade – an interesting treatment in its own right. Various ‘arty’ posters have been used in decoupage style to paper over the stark concrete walls of the building. It’s vibrant and attractive and the varied low and high tables are a nice spot to sit. With a cool wind gusting, however, we opted to sit inside.

Bohemian describes itself as a restaurant but its main claim to fame is as a tapas bar and the small plates on offer seemed very appealing. Despite it being ‘paella Thursday’ we opted for a selection of tapas rather than fill up on one dish. If we’d done that, our social media reviews would have been rather short (including this blog post). Ordering a red wine sangria for Greedy Girl and a Little Creatures IPA for gluttonous husband (a bit of a find, as he’d never seen an Indian Pale Ale from this brewer before), we put our hand up for six plates and awaited the cavalcade.

There were two choices of croquette on offer (one was a special) but given our other choices, we opted for the version on the menu proper, featuring chicken and jamon. They were presented well, with a flourish of romesco sauce (red pepper based, traditionally from the Catalonian region of northern Spain). The croquettes had a perfect golden hue but the filling wasn’t Greedy Girl’s favourite; the chicken was too dominant for her. As we were sharing, we each took a croquette and some sauce on to our own plates. Before we could help it, the wait staff whisked away the board with the remainder of our sauce. Clearly we needed to be on our toes.

Restaurant reviews Bohemian

Chicken and jamon croquettes with romesco sauce

And that was just as well for the next dish that arrived – crumbed brie (pictured at the top of this blog). As Greedy Girl was taking her customary photographs, gluttonous husband’s brow furrowed. He asked for his glasses (tucked away in Greedy Girl’s handbag once the menus were removed) and told Greedy Girl not to tuck in. It turned out, we were having a small ‘wildlife’ moment. Along with the sprigs of watercress on top of the cheese wedges, something was, ahem, alive. Once gluttonous husband pointed it out, Greedy Girl could see a small green slug wriggling its way along a stem. We alerted the wait staff and the dish was taken away. Greedy Girl suspects our wriggly friend met an untimely demise but, as the old saying goes, the only thing worse about finding a slug in your food is finding half a slug … The dish was brought back a little later, happily with nothing on the plate that wasn’t intended to be there. The dark drizzle you can see is described as a balsamic, tomato marmellade. It was sticky and sweet and went very well with the brie. Once the wedges were cut open, the cheese oozed out most gratifyingly. A good dish.

Dishes came thick and fast here. We were glad not to have ordered more, otherwise we’d have needed to decamp to a bigger table. Next up were scallops. Two rather large scallops were presented on the half shell with what was termed a ‘mushroom bechamel’. The flavours worked together but the overall effect was a little heavy. Having said that, Greedy Girl grabbed a piece of bread from one of the other dishes to mop up the sauce that remained. It was exceedingly edible, if a bit overwhelming for the scallop. Still, this was a minor quibble.

Restaurant reviews Bohemian

Scallops on the half-shell with mushroom bechamel

We then moved to meat. We’d been told by friends that the pork belly was ‘to die for’. Given gluttonous husband cooks a very decent pork belly dish himself, we were intrigued to try this. Again, the presentation was very good. A cone of the twice-cooked meat (it had been prepared sous vide and then put under a grill) had a small dish of sour cream on the side. The meat itself was flecked with rock salt. The flavours were very enjoyable and some aspects of the meat were a little crunchy but there wasn’t as much crispiness as we hoped for (and gluttonous husband works hard to achieve with the skin when he makes it at home). Still, nothing remained.

Restaurant reviews Bohemian

Twice-cooked pork belly

Next was an unusual dish of house-made chorizo. This was served with aioli and some grilled sourdough bread. Greedy Girl tried one of the sausages on its own and was disappointed with both the texture and flavour. It didn’t really pack any punch and the meat itself was quite crumbly. However, when she spread it on the bread, it was a totally different dish. The chorizo was almost spreadable and worked well with the crustiness of the bread.

Restaurant reviews Bohemian

House-made chorizo

Our last savoury dish was described on the menu as ‘patato cube’. This was an intriguing dish. The potato had been sliced into a cube and it was soft, but not mushy. The deep golden colour indicated it may have been cooked in beef jus. A hollow was scooped at the top, filled with the truffle and quail egg. It was topped with shavings of a very mild parmesan cheese. It was very enjoyable, but Greedy Girl (unusually for her with anything related to truffle) was happy to stop at one.

Restaurant reviews Bohemian

Potato with quail egg, truffle and parmesan

And that, was that, or so we thought. Gluttonous husband, purely to be able to develop a well-rounded blog, suggested we have dessert. What else but churros? With four to a serving, this was plenty big enough to share. The texture of the churros was interesting – almost chewy. Both Greedy Girl and gluttonous husband took napkins and dusted off as much of the sugar coating as they could and proceeded to dip into the very dark, very runny chocolate. It was more than acceptable.

Restaurant reviews Bohemian

Chocolate con churros

Having not indulged in further drinks, our bill for seven very edible plates, the sangria and the beer came in at less than A$100. A cheap and cheerful date night. During the course of the evening, Greedy Girl kept a watchful eye on plates being ferried to other tables but has to admit the tapas looked more interesting. The serving sizes for the main courses, however, look very generous.

In an environment that took a fair while to get going, Bohemian seems to have attracted a reasonable clientele. It’s a real boon for the area.

Restaurant reviews Bohemian

An inviting interior


South Wharf Promenade, Melbourne

Bohemian Bar & Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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