Tanya Harrowell is the general manager at True South, a stalwart in the Bayside area for tasty tapas, great beer and a guaranteed good time.
Once upon a time, the restaurant was equipped with its own microbrewery onsite, but as of mid last year the brewery has been moved to Torquay, so the restaurant could be the star of the show.
The concept for the microbrewery/ restaurant began back in 2009, when owner Grant Dow decided to make the trip around Victoria and visit every existing micro-brewery. While that was no mean feat in 2009, it would be near on impossible in 2015, with the number of breweries increasing dramatically upwards into the two hundreds.
From this experience, True South was born, with one brewer working in the basement below the restaurant to create True South’s signature range of beers.
The current brewer, Ren Blackman, follows the recipes created by the original brewer, Samara Fuss, but as all brewers do, puts his personal stamp on the flavours.
“The flavour of our Summer Ale has always been very consistent from the time we opened,” says Harrowell.
“Probably the Pilsner has evolved slightly, which is more of our standard lager, but other than that we have pretty much tried to be true to the recipes from when we first started.”
When the restaurant started in 2009, the food menu was completely different to the Argentinean tapas on offer now.
This transition was instigated in 2010 by a new Argentinean head chef and since then, some of the beers have also changed to match the new delicacies he introduced.
“It is really important for us that our staff know our menu very well as we make everything on site.
“For example, we make the filling for our chorizo on site and someone else cases it for us, but the actual contents of the chorizo we make.
“We also make our own bread, we minimise everything that we buy in, most of it is made fresh on site all the time,” says Harrowell.
“They are cooked overnight for 12 hours. They braise in a Malbec and they are divine. We also have a blackboard full of specials so there is always something seasonal going on.”
And as for the beer?
“Our most popular selling beer is our Summer Ale, that is a really lovely, refreshing beer. I think also probably the Red Truck, which is a Märzen lager, is quite unique to our venue and quite popular too.”
Trading Plates tasted:
- The housemade pork and beef chorizo
- Warmed mixed olives
- Beef brisket sliders
- Housemade bread
298 Beach Rd, Black Rock VIC 3193
(03) 9589 3194
This article was originally published in February, 2015.