A new feel for an old favourite

Jack Hayes

Since being handed the keys in early 2022, business partners Phil Gijsbers and Neil Mills (Green Acre, Rusty’s, East End), the duo behind North Melbourne modern bistro, Bobbie Peels, have quietly forged a following among industry experts and locals alike.

With those keys, and the lucky privilege to call the 114-year-old Robert Peel Hotel building home, came the responsibility to take this piece of North Melbourne history into a new age.

After a minor strip-back of the interiors in order to expose the natural beauty of the building, Gijsbers told North West City News that Bobbie Peels is a “new evolution of the pub where we can meet the locals, find out what they want and grow with the community.”

“We loved everything about this pub,” Gijsbers said.


The site, the location, the interior of the place, the 115-year-old history of the place – old pubs like this are just gorgeous.


“We like to think of ourselves as old-school hospitality subscribers. We like to look after people and take it back to those principles. We count ourselves pretty lucky because people in the area are so bloody lovely; we have been welcomed with wide open arms. We see it as a nice organic way of running the place, meeting people one by one and joining the community.”

Unlike its heritage-listed home, which only saw a few slight alterations, the menu at Bobbie Peels has undergone a considerable makeover.

With an ever-evolving menu bending to the seasons and the best possible produce the team can get their hands on any given day, locals can expect bistro classics like chardonnay coq au vin with baby onions, or seafood bouillabaisse, bread and brown butter, and charred cabbage with white bean cassoulet and leeks.

For smaller plates, you will find hand-picked Macedon mushrooms with rarebit, mussels cooked in Riesling and tarragon, or crab linguini with chilli, garlic, and herbs.



Befittingly to this menu, Gijsbers and Mills, also founders of Burnley Brewing in Richmond, have chalked up a drinks list that ranges from an affordable pint or glass of wine to 1970s cellar-aged beauties from Grampians heavyweights Best’s.

“It’s all made by people who care about what they do. For better or worse, we don’t have some large production beers, we focus on independent producers,” Gijsbers said.

“Customers are much more informed these days. For us to hold our head high and tell them our wine is locally produced, our meat is hormone-free, and our seafood is all-Australian, it is a source of pride.” •

For more information: bobbiepeels.com.au


Photo credit: Jake Roden.

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