Break


Finders, keepers: The Collection bar in Richmond

CHANGING hands can be risky business. But as Meld’s Krystin Low finds out, there was every reason to celebrate the relaunch of The Collection bar in Richmond.

One to revisit. The Collection bar in Richmond. Photo: Shaun Lee

Nestled on Bridge Rd is a nifty little bar called The Collection. Inspired by the New Orleans bar scene, The Collection has been a local Richmond haunt and was voted the 22nd best bar in the World by World’s Best Bars in 2008.

This watering hole has just celebrated its 10th anniversary, complete with a facelift.  New owners Paul Fitzsimmons and Owen Westman recently undertook the task of updating the fit out and menu. What Melbournians will be delighted to find is a cosy, relaxed interior with a backlit bar, a projector beaming old black and white movies on the wall and a courtyard out the back perfect for kicking back with friends.

Photo: Shaun Lee

Photo: Shaun Lee

Photo: Shaun Lee

Photo: Shaun Lee

Before The Collection, Owen spent time in the States honing his artistry in cocktail making while managing the well-known Bourbon & Branch and subsequently, The Rickhouse, two of San Francisco’s most famous bars. Paul  has more than 10 years experience in the industry. So it was only natural that the two men, native Melbournians who have been friends for years, always intended to open a bar together in their home city.

The Collection's new owners Owen Westman and Paul Fitzsimmons. Photo: Supplied

The Collection's new owners Owen Westman and Paul Fitzsimmons. Photo: Supplied

Catching up with Owen at The Collection’s recent exclusive launch party, it’s pretty clear he’s a cocktail genius. An award-winning bartender, he most recently won the Victorian Final of the Angostura Cocktail Challenge, narrowly pipping Nathan Beasley from Black Pearl.

The Collection boasts an extensive and sophisticated drinks menu, including original concoctions of seasonal summer libations, sweet and sours, martini classics, pick-me-ups and dessert cocktails, as well as wines and spirits.

Owen also considers Melbourne one of the most food-and-drink forward places in the world, and he is passionate about using seasonal locally-grown ingredients, ensuring his cocktails use his very own housemade liquers as much as possible.

Red and white varietals at very reasonable by-the-glass prices. Photo: Shaun Lee

Red and white varietals at very reasonable by-the-glass prices. Photo: Shaun Lee

The signature cocktail is The Laphroaig Project, a combination of Green and Yellow Chartreuse, Maraschino liqueur, Laphroaig Quarter Cask, fresh lemon juice and peach bitters shaken and served on the rocks with a lemon twist. Smoke-flavoured cocktails are one of the hottest trend for those in the know in the spirits world. The Project leaves a old-world intricate smoky taste on the tongue from the single malt Laphroaig, with a zesty citrus twist. An original Owen creation, it had an absolute cult following in the San Francisco Bay area, and in London and Germany.

Head down to The Collection to imbibe the unique Laphroaig Project. Photo: Shaun Lee

Head down to The Collection to imbibe the unique Laphroaig Project. Photo: Shaun Lee

The Cucumber Gimlet is a refreshing house-made cucumber infusion of your choice of gin or vodka, fresh lime juice, elderflower syrup and orange bitters shaken and served up with a dash of sparkling wine (which somehow made us feel rather Oscar Wildean).

The Cucumber Gimlet. Photo: Shaun Lee

The Cucumber Gimlet. Photo: Shaun Lee

The bar also serves a new punch in a bath-tub – that’s right, a miniature bath-tub, and it’s far too charming and delicious to be gimmicky.

While it is unlikely that in any Melbourne bar the snacks would be a bowl of assorted nuts, The Collection tapas menu is top notch by any standards, serving up moreish nibbles such as white truffle popcorn, duck liver pate, cevapi sausage rolls and hush puppies that are amazingly crispy on the outside, dusted with Spanish paprika and melt-in-your mouth mash inside.

The Collection makes these southern style corn fritters with fresh sweet corn, spring onions and Barber′s English cheddar. Photo: Shaun Lee

The Collection makes these southern style corn fritters with fresh sweet corn, spring onions and Barber′s English cheddar. Photo: Shaun Lee

Chorizo canapes. Photo: Shaun Lee

Chorizo canapes. Photo: Shaun Lee

Happy Hour Libations are a steal at $10 from 5 until 7pm.  The Collection is definitely the next place we’ll be suggesting to friends for Friday drinks, to try a cocktail.. or 10!

Photo: Shaun Lee

The Collection Bar
328 Bridge Road,Richmond VIC 3121
(03) 9429 8333

The Collection on Urbanspoon

Submit your comment

Please enter your name

Please enter a valid email address

Please enter your message

About

Meld Magazine was incorporated as an independent not-for-profit media outlet in September 2008 to reach out to international students in Melbourne, and provide students the opportunity to gain real work experience.

Many international students live in or around the city because of the proximity to their colleges and universities, and that was where we decided to focus our efforts first. Many of us live, work and study locally too. Our editorial team is made of both local and international students, and it has worked to our advantage in providing local content in every sense of the word.

Meld Magazine – Melbourne's international student news website © 2014 All Rights Reserved