I’d heard about a new bar/lounge inside Hotel Hotel in New Acton that opened up late last year. On a Friday night, a few friends and I wandered over to check it out. Raw timber slats are the main feature in this hotel – on the stairs, along the walls and ceilings. Looks pretty impressive when you’re standing there soaking it all in.

The stairs leading down to the bar (if entering via Palace Electric Cinema).

I thought the main area was very warm and inviting. I love the multi-coloured patchwork style wooden tables. I think it could be the same type of wood used but stained in different colours.

I had already eaten dinner beforehand, but was happy to see some options for dessert on the menu. The dessert of nectarine, berries, burnt honey and lavendar wasn’t informative enough as to what the dessert actually was, so I asked our waitress. I was told this consisted of a nectarine panna cotta with fruit. This sounded like a light dessert that I wanted to try. The plate looked lovely with two thick slices of panna cotta served with blackberries, watermelon and slices of nectarine. The burnt honey was in the form of small round jellies, which I did not know until I put the whole jelly in my mouth. I received an eye-popping startling sweet hit of honey. Who knew burnt honey was so sweet? My bad for being a greedy guts. I learnt to slice off a tiny bit to mix it in with everything else. I couldn’t really taste any nectarine in the panna cotta – it tasted more like sweet vanilla with a hint of honey in it. The lavendar sprinkled on top complemented the panna cotta (both have floral notes) as well as the honey (providing some pepperiness against the sweet honey). I like the idea of this dessert but think improvements could be made – maybe infusing the honey and lavendar into a panna cotta and adding a bit more to the plate. I thought this was a simple dish with nice presentation but it’s not something I’d order again.

The rest of the bar menu is tapas style with a selection of shared plates including oysters, cured meats and olives. My friend’s ordered a few snacks shown below.

Ortiz anchovies, toast, chilli and lemon ($25)
Fourme d’Ambert, candied beets, sunflower ($17)

Our waitress informed me of their non-alcoholic drinks on the menu – the elderflower, cucumber and soda or lemon & lime bitters (both $5 each). The first one sounded intriguing so I gave it a shot. My first sip gave me a mouthful of straight soda water and I thought I made a major mistake with my drinks choice. After stirring the drink with my straw for a bit, I took another sip and was pleased with the sweet taste. The elderflower must have been in the form of a syrup which floated on top of the drink and hadn’t quite mixed in with the soda. There was a nice subtle refreshing hint of cucumber in there too bringing me memories of relaxing in a day spa in Italy with cucumber slices placed on my eyes while getting pampered and some in my drink.

The space here is huge. There is a low modern version of a fireplace in the middle of the entire lounge area. This is surrounded with plush cushioned seats on three sides where people can warm their backs and chill out with a drink. I can see this spot by the fireplace as being very popular in winter.

The fit out is funky and eclectic with several alcoves to sit or lounge.

The decor includes hipster looking bikes lined up on one wall.
A wall of suitcases lines another.

A vertical garden sits outdoors at the back and lights up at night. I read that there is a secret garden at Hotel Hotel..but I’m not sure if this is it as it’s not that much of a secret.

There’s also a library somewhere but I didn’t have much more time to explore. There are several cocktails on the drinks menu and I spotted a few people drinking martini’s that night. A standout feature is that there is table service here so you don’t need to line up at the bar to order a drink. Our waitress was cheerful and helpful with the items on the menu. My partner’s beer order had somehow gotten lost so he had to ask for it again, but other than that, service was reasonable.

Hotel Hotel’s website states, ‘The kitchen works hard to procure produce from local farmers and growers – reducing food miles and supporting local producers. Hotel Hotel manages its own beehives at the wetlands near Kingston and sources bread from its affiliate bakery, A. Baker.’

The restaurant will be running a full service later in the year – something to keep an eye on.

The bar and lounge is inside NewActon’s Nishi at 25 Edinburgh Street. Open 7am-11pm seven days a week. No BYO.

Foodgasm 6.5/10

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