After enjoying a wonderful calamari salad at the Standard hotel recently, I joined a large group of friends celebrating a birthday a few days later at the Rainbow hotel, and again ordered the calamari salad. Compared to the more conventional combination of sweet and citrus at the Standard, this dish was more challenging: calamari, caramelised figs, radicchio and lemon. The calamari was equally well cooked as at the Standard and the flavour was astonishing: the rich sweet honey from the fig, the bitterness from the radicchio and the tangy lemon all worked with the calamari to create a fabulous dish.
Combined with perhaps the best garlic bread I’ve ever had, laden with garlic, butter and rosemary, the Rainbow hotel has established itself as a serious dining destination in Fitzroy. Hidden off the main streets on the corner of St David St and Young St, the Rainbow has delightfully friendly and helpful staff who coped well as our group increased during the evening in the separate dining room.
You can read the menu on the Rainbow’s comprehensive new website, which also includes links to their Facebook and Myspace pages, gig listings and directions on how to get there. It’s a great example of a local business doing everything right with their online marketing: the straightforward navigation makes it easy to find the information you need.
Compared to the mess the Royal Derby made of their online marketing when they reopened last year, it makes me trust the new owners and want to come back. It’s probably beyond their control, but I also found that, like the Royal Derby, the old website for the hotel is still online… a digital ghost from the past. For the Rainbow, the future is looking good. The food and service is brilliant and I will be returning soon.