Grand Hotel (Richmond)
The Grand Hotel certainly looks imposing. Located on a quiet, Richmond street corner, it towers over the surrounding houses. The fact it's painted grey, and rather drab doesn't really help. Still, you can't judge pubs by their exterior (certainly not in Melbourne), and The Grand is actually one of Richmond's best kept secrets. Divided into two distinct rooms, the hotel offers a casual dining experience and a lounge bar. The restaurant has won multiple awards over the years and specialises in traditional, home-cooked Italian cuisine. The actual fit-out is a leftfield mix of aging pub, stained glass windows, deer stencils on the walls and white linen table cloths - not what you would expect. Duck into the lounge next door and you'll find a long, tunnel-like space that opens up onto a courtyard. There are booths running alongside one wall, an orange and chocolate colour scheme and flower-based mural along the walls. The Italian heritage ensures there's a good selection of red wine on offer and the beer options are suitably varied. There's not much in the way of cocktails, but this is still a pub at heart so that's to be expected. What isn't expected is the very good restaurant hidden behind the aging exterior. The Grand is definitely worth a visit.