Home may be where the heart is, but the shared belief between father and son publicans John and Joel Taylor is that a local hotel offers an unparalleled degree of comfort.
And that’s exactly the feeling you get when you step foot inside the newly renovated Torquay Hotel.
Filled with natural light and a plethora of leafy flora, the once tired space has been given a new lease on life.
The restaurant – previously known as the bistro – is now a spacious area complete with timber top tables and dark chairs.
The dining space’s centre has been fitted with a plush couch which backs onto a striking plant feature, with hanging lights brightening the soft blue and pink colour choices selected by interior designer Phillipa Johnson.
“Her strength is colour palettes,” Joel said.
“She does an amazing job with colour choices; we couldn’t really do it without her.”
It took about seven months for the renovation to reach its end, but Joel believes the result was well worth the anticipated wait.
“I felt a bit of pressure with the pub. When we bought it a couple of years ago, I knew it had a long and rich history here and I really wanted to do it justice.
“I wanted to do the pub right for the town, but I wanted to do it my way as well.
“I’ve got my own ideas about how hospitality should go and that’s different to how the pub’s been in the past.
“I’m just hoping that my ideas are aligned with what everyone else’s are.”
The pub has welcomed a new bar (formerly Bells Gallery) which looks onto Bell Street, a stellar attraction in the finished product. Next to the bar is a vast formal dining area for large groups.
But one of the most noticeable changes in the pub’s redevelopment is the new food, drink and cocktail menus.
“I always thought that this venue could do a lot in food. I figured with the right style and the right menu, and obviously the right team to run it, the sky’s the limit,” Joel said.
“We really wanted to establish ourselves as a restaurant and a casual pub/dining experience which is fun and approachable for everyone.”
Under the supervision of head chef Thomas Sturm, all proteins will be cooked on a custom-made parrilla grill imported from Argentina.
The kitchen features a window which allows diners to peer in and watch the culinary team at work.
The menu features share meals such as marinated manzanillo olives from Drysdale and salt and pepper squid, while the main dishes include nasi goreng, flake, burgers and a seafood linguini.
A selection of wines behind the bar are from around the region, with some international drops also making the cut. For the beer lovers, two copper tanks of Carlton Draught flow through the bar taps every day.
“We tried to get as much stuff done from the greater area as possible. We’re definitely sourcing a lot of our food and wine locally, even spirits as there’s a lot of gin coming out of the area now.”
And while the renovation has Joel excited for what’s ahead, his partnership with musician Luke Hindson has been the driver in bringing a string of talented groups and individual acts to Torquay, from Boo Seeka and Slowly Slowly to coming appearances from Ruby Fields and Touch Sensitive.
“Without him doing what he does, we wouldn’t have these awesome acts.”
Torquay Hotel is located at 36 Bell Street, Torquay. For opening hours and the full menu, head to torquayhotel.com.au.