What to order at Zymurgy

Published on 22 April 2021

Photo: A feast of ferments at Zymurgy (credit: Ed Sloane)

West Footscray's favourite beer-focused eatery (or food-focused beer bar) has expanded its offer with a dining room and tasting menu that offer some of the best value in town. Here's the inside word on the menus out in the beer garden and inside at Zymurgy from chef Julian Hills.

The name might be tricky, but the thinking behind the menus at Zymurgy is brilliantly straightforward: it's food that’s made to go really well with good beer. And, says chef Julian Hills, it’s food to share with friends with a drink in a place where family and pets are welcome. "The word 'zymurgy' refers to the art of fermentation," he says, "and while that’s particularly relevant to the yeast and the process of making beer, the menu highlights that as well." Zymurgy started as a pop-up beer garden in 2020, a collaboration with Hop Nation when Hills' restaurant, Navi, was closed and the site came up. But the love locals have given the site has translated into a more permanent indoor-dining space, which now offers a tasting menu with a beer and wine matching. It’s exceptional quality at a remarkable price.

Here are Hills' picks of what’s on offer.

Which of the dishes on the new menu best captures the vibe at Zymurgy right now?
The grill is a feature at Zymurgy, and our Western Plains pork is a highlight – we rub a scotch fillet with a smoked charcoal, pepper and paprika crust and cook it slowly over the coals. Served with char-grilled broccoli leaf, salted grapes and a black miso curry paste, I think it’s a stellar match with any of the beer line-up. 

How about a drink?
You’re in luck. With 14 rotating taps, our co-owners, Duncan Gibson and Sam Hambour of Hop Nation, have the whole gamut of drinks covered including craft beers, mixed-fermentation brews and their wine label, Site Wine. Ask for the limited-release beer on tap; you won't be disappointed.

What if I’m here for a good time not a long time?
Have an ox-tongue Reuben. It’s pickled and poached ox tongue finely sliced, skewered and heated over hot charcoal and served between two pieces of toasted rye with house sauerkraut, creamy mustard and Comté served with house pickles. Chased with a pot of The Heart Pale Ale, it’s the perfect beer garden eat. The Hawkes Farm sebago chips, as crisp as can be, also go down well with any of the tap beers. Or, if you’re after more of a snack, grab a bowl of pickles and a char-grilled pretzel brushed with smoked wagyu butter (we also do a seaweed butter for people who don’t eat meat) served with a blackened finger lime and cod-roe emulsion. 

Got anything light and fresh?
Check out our char-grilled Skull Island prawns, brushed with ’nduja sauce, blanched sea herbs and desert lime. Or try a salad of smoked, fresh and pickled tomatoes with burrata paired with a Site Wine malbec nebbiolo rosé. 

I like tasty food but I don’t eat animals.
The grill fires up for vegetarians and vegans as well. Mushroom Forestry shiitakes are sautéed and deglazed with Hop Nation’s The Buzz Red Ale and turned into a decadent take on mac and cheese, and our various house-ferments, including miso, soys and shio kojis, make sure the vegetables punch above their weight over the coals.

Let’s go big. Let’s go crazy. What have you got for me?
In the dining room the go-to for anyone wanting experience it all is the tasting menu; $60 will have you fed across the menu plus a few things you won’t see in the beer garden. Match it with a beverage pairing for the full shebang. 

And to close?
To finish you could go with a fudgy chocolate brownie served with a miso ganache and stewed blood plums and topped with salted caramel and puffed buckwheat. If you're "not a dessert person", you might like to try our Koji Caramel Espresso Martini.

Zymurgy opens from 3pm Wed-Fri and from noon on weekends, with lunch served from noon-3pm and evening food service from 5pm; 561 Barkly St, West Footscray, zymurgywest.com.au, @zymurgywest.

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