Restauranteur Sam Zeneldin tries to think of every table as a group of friends coming to his place for dinner. His place, Mr Hobson, sits on the water’s edge in Port Melbourne – as you can imagine, the stretches of sparkling water and passing cruise ships make this dining room instantly more dynamic than most.
In cities all over the world, restaurant owners rely on their picturesque location to fill seats while letting the menu and service slide. Sam could have used Mr Hobson’s scenic surrounds as a crutch, but we’re certain that his sense of hospitality would see this venue thriving in any setting.
Mr Hobson is a gorgeous restaurant. As Sam describes it, “I like to define it as an architectural masterpiece. It has been designed for visual stimulation with modern raw timber that blends seamlessly; industrial black pendant lamps simulating the loading docks that adorn the area; and floor-to-ceiling windows to enjoy a wide view of the sunset.”
Sunlight streams through the walls of windows all day, hitting the glass and silver of the table settings with a sparkle. It feels a little bit luxurious but completely comfortable, which is the balance the Mr Hobson team strikes with everything.
“Creating a unique atmosphere is important but what’s even better than that is making sure it’s unforgettable for everyone.”
This carries through from breakfast to lunch to dinner service and beyond that to Mr Hobson’s functions. Branching off from the main dining room, three function spaces make up an equally bustling side of the business. Mr Hobson is a popular spot for weddings, birthday parties, engagement parties and other events for 40-400 people all year long and the Mr Hobson team host these with heartfelt attention to detail.
“[We] like to treat events as if they were [our] own. It’s like being part of each person’s life and when you have that responsibility, you want to make sure you are doing it right. Creating a unique atmosphere is important but what’s even better than that is making sure it’s unforgettable for everyone,” a staff member explains.
Creating an atmosphere like that isn’t something that can be learned; it comes from the heart and Sam shares that part of himself with guests every day. But the perfect complement to the soul of Mr Hobson is a matter of skill; this Port Melbourne café, bar and function venue wouldn’t be the gem it is without technically excellent chefs in the kitchen.
Mr Hobson’s menu is designed to be a condensed version of Melbourne’s iconic food scene. Together, manager Dippen and chefs hand-pick the dishes that are currently defining this city’s foodie culture and they develop their own version of each dish. The menu appears eclectic – there might be American BBQ, Australian fish and chips, nasi goreng and confit pork belly side-by-side on the page. But Mr Hobson has mastered the art of maintaining their signature style across every sort of dish.
It’s the perfect mix of predictability, progressiveness, and personality that makes people love Mr Hobson. Being predictable but progressive comes down to good management, open communication, and creativity. As for the personality, maintaining a personal touch day after day the way that Mr Hobson’s team does may sound a bit draining. But according to management and staffs it’s not a struggle for the business because it’s what makes them feel fulfilled.
“Mr Hobson is the joy of my life. It makes me happy every day. My passion is making people happy and I try to demonstrate this every day from the moment we open the doors of the restaurant or start organising an event. That is exactly what I want people to feel when they come to my place.”
9 Waterfront Pl, Port Melbourne VIC 3207 | (03) 9646 6299
http://www.mrhobson.com.au | firstname.lastname@example.org
OPEN Mon – Thurs 9:30am – 10:00pm | Fri – Sun 9:30am – 11:30pm