My first impression was that Naked for Satan is a cross between a drinking hall and a buffet-style picnic. There are no menus, and no table service. The deal is that you select which ever little pintxos (you call them ‘pinchos’) you like from the trays on the front counter. A little research afterwards told me that this is actually Spanish inspired eating, and pintxos are Spanish style finger food, like tapas, that are intended to accompany a drink.
Each pintxos sits on a slice of baguette, and the fillings consist of a cold selection of cheese, vegetable and some meat or seafood-based options. There is also the option to select from the-fresh-out-of-the-oven pinxtos that staff carry on trays to each table. These ones are the best, so don’t fill up on bread, but it would have been great if they had a couple more 'hot' options on the night we visited. Because there are so many great variations, NFS will appeal to both meat-eaters and vegetarians, hopefully providing the opportunity for both to try something new. You can also sample the dessert style pintxos, like the blueberry cannoli and the chocolate truffle.
Our favourites were; the Squid Ink Risoni with Grilled Calamari, Cauliflower with Manouri Cheese & Garlic Prawn, Seafood with Prawn & Capsicum, Chorizo, Cream Cheese & Green Chilli, the Tortilla with Aioli, Smoked Chicken & Corn Relish and the Eggplant chip with Blue Cheese & Honey.
The premise of the venue is that everything available to eat comes with a toothpick in it, and when you’ve had your fill, you bring these toothpicks to the counter and pay. Having never been there before, we were lucky that we arrived on a Monday night where each toothpick costs $1, instead of the usual $2. Later I learnt that this is a Monday - Wednesday dinner thing (Monday to Friday for lunch, 12pm- 4pm), with the price increasing towards the weekend. There is no beating $1 pintxos!
I did enjoy Naked for Satan. The guys working were friendly and attentive, making sure we knew what the deal was with the place. The bar’s vibes were good and casual with a young, but not too young crowd. Naked for Satan is quite large, so space was plentiful which is kind of what you want on a Monday night, and we found a table right away. At about 7pm, the place wasn’t packed, but wasn’t empty either which made it easy to duck to and forth from the bar.
All in all, Naked for Satan makes for an interesting dining experience, and it was unlike anywhere I had been before, which we liked. If you are going out with the expectation of a hot meal, then there are better places to go on Brunswick Street. But for us, the smallish feed before we went to see a friend's gig was perfect, especially because of the self serve policy at NFS which meant were never going to have to wait for our food. Realistically, in comparison to a restaurant, the food is not that great, but the selection and range of pintxos available means that it out-does almost any other bar and is a must-visit if you are visiting Melbourne.
NAKED FOR SATAN
285 Brunswick St
Good for: Cheap dinners or light eating, catching up with big or small groups of friends or smaller dates. Although I didn’t drink, I can imagine it would be a really good place to meet before a big night, as the bar seemed really well stocked and they also had their own infused vodka mixes sitting on the bar. Naked for Satan also has plans for a rooftop bar, which opens this November, just in time for summer. They have a tumblr documenting its progress here.
Vegetarians: Will be able to eat well- the vegetarian selections are just as substantial as the meat-options.
Wait time: We walked straight in without issue around 7pm on Monday
Food waiting time: Nil.
Cost: As I ate 10 pintxos and got a non-alcholic drink, I paid around $13. Cheapest dinner so far!