Saturday, May 12, 2007

May 11, 2007: Gertrude Street Grub - The Builders Arms Hotel

Update, 31/12/2014: The Builders Arms has been taken over by the McConnells (of Cutler and Co, Cumulus Inc and others) and has gone pretty upmarket. This post is not representative of the pub anymore.

It's been a while since a Gertrude Street Grub post. The last few times I've bought lunch I've either forgotten to bring the camera with me or been too keen to revisit TrippyTaco to chase up somewhere new to blog. Things fell into place on Friday though - the leftover supply dried up on the only day of the week that The Builders Arms is open for lunch. From the outside, The Builders Arms is a pretty average looking pub - a few tables on the street and a fairly grimy looking public bar - but if you wander through the door at the back of the public bar, you find yourself in a bizarrely garish pink restaurant. It was too much for me, so I ordered quickly and scurried back to one of the outside tables where the illusion of an old-fashioned pub could be maintained. The menu is a few steps from standard pub fare, with a vaguely Middle Eastern feel - tagines, Turkish meatballs, haloumi etc. There aren't dozens of vegetarian options, but there are enough: a dhal, some sort of artichoke empanada, vegie skewers and a few smaller bits and pieces.

I went for a plate of nibbles: ouzo marinated olives, Moroccan split pea dip, Turkish bread and a few slivers of crunchy cucumber ($14). It was a fine combination - the dip in particular holding all the flavours and textures together. It was a bit of an oily choice for a workday lunch, but the cucumber cut through it all a little and helped me pretend I was being healthy. The prices here are a little prohibitive by my standards, but my commitment to documenting the Gertrude Street scene (and my predilection for olives) meant that it was worth stopping in at least once.

Address: 211 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
Ph: 9419 0818
Licensed (it is a pub after all)
Prices: Vego mains: $12-$18


  1. looks v posh grub for a place that I remember someone telling me was staffed by topless barmaids many years ago when I lived in the area - I never went there, of course!

  2. Yeah, I think that kind of transformation's becoming common in the Gertrude/Smith St area! I didn't know the history of that particular pub, though...

  3. Would love to try the food here no matter what. This place holds nostalgic memories for me going back about 7 years when I used to be there just about every Friday night dancing up a storm & flirting with my now husband!

  4. I like a bit of personal history, too, Ange! It could be a disorienting trip down memory lane (with a tasty meal along the way) for you and your husband. :-)