Docklands’ hottest new restaurant

Jack Hayes

Since opening late last year, the hype surrounding Horn and Hoof, Docklands’ newest European dining experience, has been palpable.

The overwhelming support from both locals and visitors alike is evident recognition of a business willing to take a leap and offer something you’re not going to get at your average high street restaurant.

Horn and Hoof is an ode to the past, the gastronomy of “our forefathers by integrating age-old cooking methods” to bring to diners “an authentic food experience.”

That food experience is not a typical one. On Horn and Hoof’s menu, you will find wild venison served with cherry tomatoes and caramelised carrots, slow-cooked wild boar with sweet beetroot and prune sauce, toasted bulgur, carrots and green leaves, and even alpaca shanks with crispy potatoes, sweet baby peas, old-style pickles, cranberry and red currant sauce.

Serge Ambrose, who works alongside his wife, chef and the business's owner Elena, told Docklands News the response from locals, which makes up more than 50 per cent of the restaurant’s patronage, has been “really fantastic.”

“While everyone’s going toward fusion cooking, we’ve literally gone the opposite way. We’re doing foods the way our grandparents used to cook,” Mr Ambrose said.

“We’ve got things like venison, we’ve got wild boar, we’ve got crepes with mushroom and truffle oil, we’ve got gorgonzola blue cheese ice cream. Those types of things.”

“We have heard a lot of locals say how great it is to have a place that is just a quick come in, eat and go, but a place they’re proud of; a place you can go anywhere in Melbourne and say, ‘we have one of the best in the city’ – we’re striving for that.”

Mr Ambrose only has one request of his diners as they leave: if they like what they had, please tell one friend, and if there is something he can do better, please tell him.

Based on the murmurings around postcode 3008, and the venue’s success so far, it seems Mr Ambrose’s ask is being answered and the good word about Horn and Hoof is being heard far and wide.

“Our philosophy is that we’re here to look after you. Probably the best way to describe it high-end food, without the high-end wank,” Mr Ambrose said.  

“Many people have told us, ‘you’re idiots, why are you heading down to Docklands when you can make more money on Toorak Rd?’”


We said we’d rather bring people down here to keep with our philosophy and all it’s going to take is word of mouth.


“We only accommodate 20 to 30 people a night, and we are happy with that. It allows us to talk to every single table, each group of people and look after them personally.”

Horn and Hoof offer the option of a two-course ($79) or three-course ($99) meal with gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian and pescetarian options available, along with a comprehensive list of cocktails, beers, spirits and wines, from here and abroad. •

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Waterways team to the rescue

Waterways team to the rescue

November 29th, 2023 - Docklands News
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