A combining of culinary minds
When Waselin Nerul was approached with the opportunity to lead his own restaurant, he only had one prerequisite: it had to be in the city.
Melbourne’s iconic Hardware Lane eventually become his home to showcase a new era of the famous three-decade old Claypots brand that has grown from humble beginnings on Barkly St, St Kilda.
Claypots Barbarossa combines the experience and essence from Claypots St Kilda and Claypots Evening Star (South Melbourne), to bring a new Mediterranean flavour and energy to one of Melbourne’s legendary dining strips.
“We wanted to bring a different Mediterranean style of cooking to the city,” Mr Nerul said. “We still focus heavily on seafood, and there are still the Asian and middle eastern influences from our other venues, but we wanted to combine everything that we have learnt and turn it into something new.”
Claypots Barbarossa was built under the concept of simple, home-style hospitality that treats you as a friend and is a place where people feel warm and welcomed.
On its menu you can expect classic Claypots dishes stir fry sambal mussels, grilled sardines, braised barramundi wings, and of course, their famous Moroccan Claypot, with couscous and mixed seafood baked in an eggplant sauce.
True to his form in welcoming both friends and ideas, Mr Nerul joined culinary forces with Bjørn Helge in December to host the inaugural Heimelaga x Claypots Degustation, a celebration of traditional Norwegian cuisine with Mediterranean technique.
Heimelaga, which translates to home-made in Norwegian, is a private dining supper club run by Mr Helge and his partner every eight weeks which sees a “cultural fusion that marries traditional Nordic flavours with the cosmopolitan charm of Melbourne.”
“We don’t do new Nordic, we don’t believe in new Nordic, it’s just unadulterated cooking that Bjørn’s grandparents and ancestors would make, with just a few tweaks,” Mr Helge’s partner said.
“We thought it was a great opportunity to join forces to support this great CBD restaurant. It’s about Wasim, he is a genius in the kitchen, the dishes are phenomenal, and we want to see a great business succeed.”
The degustation featured dishes like Flatbrød Bete; a home-made flatbread with fresh deep-sea cod poached in a salted roasted peppercorn lemon, served on a buttery roasted potatoes; Brennsnut, a vegetable broth, garnished with Norwegian crisp ham and home-made flatbread, and Sosakjøtt; slow cooked beef with mashed peas Brennevins Grova Caraway Akevitt flambéed leek and lingonberry jam.
Claypots Barbarossa is located at 79 Hardware Ln, Melbourne. •