Time Out Melbourne

Corrs Lane, home to Melbourne's best-worst karaoke bar, now also hosts Croatian suckling pig

The folks behind this new Croatian restaurant, filling what was once Eurotrash nightclub in Chinatown, are the same quirky individuals who once promoted the opening of their luminous tequila-filled Mexican bar House of Maximon through the medium of branded toilet paper, snuck into the loos of other bars. So it should come as no surprise that Brutale is a little different.

There’s a crazy pastiche of army helmet light shades and huge pictures of broads with the faces of pigs. Above the bar hovers what looks like a cross between a sea mine and a disco mirror ball, and the music vacillates between ‘Mack the Knife’ and the theme tune to Indiana Jones: The Temple of Doom.

What is less outlandish is the food. Croatian-born chef Daniel Dobra (ex-Aylesbury) is behind the burners here, passionately banging out home-style Croat classics.

The Balkans don’t mess around. You’ll be starting with glass vials of rakija – rocket fuel liquor distilled from plums and other fruits – and they just can’t get enough onion. It’s in everything from salads to the soured cream kajmak dip that's served with bread, while skinless pork sausages (cevapi) come with a rough chopped and raw fistful of nature’s sex repellant. Hhhhiiiii there.

Don’t expect modern. Everything comes on daggy metal platters including an ancient Dobra clan recipe of a whole snapper roasted in an oily caper sauce with a bunch of grapes on top. It looks like something from a 'Let's get Continental!' cookbook circa the ‘80s, but it tastes delicious – all sweet flesh and burnt toffee grapes.

Don’t even question getting the suckling pig. It’s non-negotiable unless you don't do pork. A tiny swine goes on the kitchen spit every day and is served in tender hunks impaled by glassy amber shards of crackling with jugs of apple purée and roasting juices.

The crew here are a fiercely patriotic Eastern European bunch which is charming and useful when they're deciphering the Croatian wine list – and intense when they're delivering your pig with big silver knives and crazy grins.

Dessert-wise, skip the bowl of generic Neapolitan ice cream unless crumbly fig pastries and a short, bitter shot in the arm of Croatian coffee. Bring it home with rakija if you want to finish on a high five.

Brutale is an unusual beast, but if you’re after a kitschy good time, you’ve found it.

Updated on 8 Oct 2013.

Brutale details

18 Corrs Ln, Melbourne 3000

Telephone 03 9654 4411

Brutale map

Report a problem with this page

Restaurants and bars nearby

Fukuryu Ramen

11m - At Chinatown ramen spot Fukuryu Ramen, it's all about the...

Berlin Bar

12m - East meets west at Berlin, where the luxurious and opulent east Germany...

FAD Gallery

17m - The Fad Gallery is a two-storey art gallery and bar that boasts old...

Ants Bistro

25m - Ants Bistro bears the distinction of having one of the most eccentric menus...

More restaurants and bars nearby

Other venues nearby

The Loft

88m - On the second floor of Lonsdale street and surrounded by wall-to-wall...

The Key Club

88m - The Key Club is the newest addition to the top end of Lonsdale Street's...

Mantra on Russell

89m - For a city-centric stay, the Mantra on Russell offers lavish accommodation...

170 Russell

92m - A new, central music venue from the Corner Presents team.

More venues nearby
Petit Piknic

Petit Piknic

Melbourne's got the most fun, family-friendly Sunday session at Piknic Electronik

Readers' comments, reviews, hints and pictures

Community guidelines

blog comments powered by Disqus

Get the Time Out weekend planner. Straight to your inbox, every Thursday.
Read more