As the summer season announces itself with more authority on Melbourne town, so does The Dear Luncher by trying new food destinations. A place that has regularly caught The Dear Luncher’s eye during his pathetic attempts at exercise, is Bar Nacional. Bar Nacional is a Spanish restaurant/bar located in Collins Square. Collins Square is on the Docklands side of Collins Street, one tram stop west of Southern Cross train station.
The exterior surrounds of Bar Nacional on the Collins street side do not suggest a very warm or inviting venue. But if you march up the stairs and around the corner the setting improves dramatically with an open courtyard area at the base of a large office building. The scene was fairly lively, with a summer outdoor bar set up. Noticing that the selected tap beer outside was from the Boatrocker brewery from Melbourne’s south-east, Your Dear Luncher was pleased.
The staff were at the ready for what was shaping up as a very busy lunch period. As The Dear Luncher is a spontaneous mofo, no booking was made. Upon entry I was informed that bookings were heavy, but a bar stool setting could be arranged. This was more than adequate and surprisingly comfortable. Often it’s the case that being perched up in that manner does not lend itself to comfortable eating.
The business lunch deal was an enticing offer. Two courses, including a wine or beer for the sum of $25. The Dear Luncher selected the charcuteria tapa, to be followed by a confit duck dish that was the main dish meat selection for that particular day. The Dear Luncher would not ordinarily order a duck dish, but that was the only item on offer as part of the express lunch; so duck it was.
A big tick for including craft beer from he aforementioned Boatrocker brewery as a beer option with this business lunch offer. The Boatrocker Big Love was delicious. Ordinarily, lunch deals like these would be accompanied with a below-average level beer or wine. Kudos.
The service was terrific. Attentive but not over-bearing. The only downside for The Dear Luncher was the portion sizes unfortunately. For the charcuteria, there the quanity of Serrano was, shall we say, limited. But it was delicious nonetheless. The Dear Luncher could have devoured triple that amount and not even touched the sides. Quality.
The main was delivered not too long afterwards. Presentation, superb. Though once again The Dear Luncher’s stomach grumbled at the size of this dish. That being said, this was a case of quality, over quantity. The combination of flavours was quite enjoyable. As mentioned – Your Dear Luncher is not a regular duck eater, but this was a fulfilling experience.
On the whole this was a rather pleasant dining experience. Bar Nacional is a well run operation. The dark Collins street frontage does not make for inviting scenery, but take the time to walk around to the other side to discover what Bar Nacional has to offer. The Dear Luncher believes that during the summer months, this will be a pleasant place for an afternoon or early evening grazing and drinking session.
The business lunch option have The Dear Luncher enough of an indication that the rest of the menu is certainly worth exploring.
Location: Collins Square, 727 Collins Street, Docklands, Melbourne
Phone: (03) 9252-7999