Category: Pub food

Melbourne 3000: Father’s Office Speakeasy Bar

The Father’s Office is located in the heart of the student precinct of the CBD, close to RMIT and next door to The State Library. Students and travellers seeking Melbourne’s hard to find happy hour congregate in the large balcony area at The Father’s Office. The bar is jumpin’ jumpin’ with people ordering $6.50 Absolute vodka’s and craft beers on tap. But the Father’s Office is also known on Instagram for it’s cute American style share plates and burgers.

You will find share plates from polenta and parmesan cubes to pork cracking and popcorn chicken on the menu, enough to excite anyone who hasn’t eaten before drinking at the bar.

After ordering on an empty stomach, we were presented with the Home-style mac and cheese, arancini balls and fries.

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Rustic creamy mac and cheese baked with breadcrumbs and topped with cheese (bacon optional) was well presented and tasty enough for $8, but the dish was not big enough for one person, never mind substantial enough to share.

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Three Arancini balls that sat in a sweet smoked aioli for $6 were delicious, but you might want to order 3 plates of these if you’re hungry. As for the fries, I have never seen such a small portion of fries served at a bar in my life. It was as if the chef of The Father’s Office took our order, walked down to McDonalds on Swanston Street, returned with a small fries and then poured them into a tea cup.

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I know you have potential Father’s Office, so please stop being so stingy.

Father's Office Speakeasy Bar and Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Auburn 3123: The Geebung

Currently I am in the Perhentian Islands relaxing and enjoying many authentic Malaysian curries, but back in Melbourne I attended ‘The Geebung’ for dinner with a potential suitor.

When it was suggested we go to ‘the Geebung’ I thought this was an Australian slang word for ‘Geelong’, however since the pub is located in Auburn, the upper class neighbouring suburb of Hawthorn, my presumption was incorrect. I do not understand why this venue has such a strange name, but apparently it has a great party vibe on Sunday nights.

This reminds me that basic spirits, house wine and pints of tap beer were $5 during happy hour, Friday night. I was impressed at the array of premium beers to choose from. The friendly bar staff will happily pour you a Mountain Goat, Fat Yak or James Squire Golden Ale.

The date turned into a friendly group hang out, and didn’t eventuate into anything further. The food however, was above average with above average prices. Modern Australian is on the menu at this upper class pub, with quinoa and vegetables instead of fried chips served as side dishes to meta and fish.

This was my first taste of sword fish, and I enjoyed it immensely. The fish was cooked to perfection (3-4 minutes pan fried on each side and then for 5 minutes in the oven I would say). I was surprised at how solid sword fish is, compared to other flakey and soft fish. The dish presented like a dogs breakfast, however the flavoursome quinoa and vegetables complimented the fish and reminded me to not judge a book by it’s cover.

After my main meal I moved outside to the little bustling beer garden and took a peek at the dessert menu. I’m not normally a sweet tooth, but I tried the chocolate mouse and it was spectacular.

I recommend The Geebung to those who don’t mind paying around $30 for a delicious pub meal that is modern, thoughtfully prepared and healthier than those found at the average pub.

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Geebung Polo Club on Urbanspoon

North Melbourne 3051: Town Hall Hotel

Walking down Errol St you know you are near the Town Hall Hotel when the  notorious mumbling beggar asks you repeatedly for spare change.

You got any spare change, spare change, spare change, spare change, spare change….

Instead of giving him your spare change you walk into this dingy pub and use your change to buy a Coopers Pale Ale, Fat Yak or Coopers Dark Ale.
If you’re lucky you get to sit in the little hut out in the beer garden with your mates and if you have more spare change you order one of the Town Hall Hotel’s well-known parma’s.

The parma took a fair amount of time to come out, but was delivered to our little villa without a problem. The service at the back bar was fantastic, as was my eggplant parma.

However, I had to scrape the economy cheese off the eggplant patties and was less than impressed by the bland fries.

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This is the chicken parma my acquaintance ordered:

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The Town Hall Hotel has a great vibe out the back with friendly staff and a fantastic beer garden. There is an extensive list of interesting mains to choose from on the menu including a polenta crumbed eggplant & Portobello mushroom burger and classic English bangers & mash. I am eager to come back here and try the grilled fish of the day served with kindler potatoes and lemon butter sauce.

Town Hall Hotel on Urbanspoon

Brunswick 3065: Cornish Arms

On a Monday night at around 7pm I arrived at this dingy pub on the dark side of inner city Melbourne.
Sydney Rd is known for multiple murders and gang shootings but tonight I was greeted with a bustling crowd of young inner city citizens drinking Goats and Fat Yak Beer at the Cornish Arms bar.
There was a sign for $12 parmas and burgers on a Monday night.
I wanted the Mexican Parma, but apparently they only do this variation on Sundays so I opted for the Thai Massaman Curry.

Being a pub and not a thai restaurant, i suspected the curry wouldn’t be fantastic and I was correct in my assumption. The coconut rice didn’t taste coco nutty, not sure what Thai curry has fried shallots on it either. This isn’t Laksa King. Maybe this is ‘Modern Australian’ Thai food. Who knows really.

So I became a seagull and sampled my friends left overs. The vegan fish and Chips were interesting (and extremely unhealthy), the pumpkin and rosemary pizza tasted like a rosemary bush sprinkled with craft Parmesan cheese. The onion rings were sure to contribute to any predisposition I might have for heart disease.

Good greasy pub food, large range of gluten free/ vegetarian options, but where are the healthy and delicious options?

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Cornish Arms Hotel on Urbanspoon

Northcote 3070: Northcote Social Club

I’ve heard a mixture of opinions about The Northcote Social Club, some saying it’s dingy but renovated, and some telling me not to expect much at all.

I walked into a dim lighted pub in a questionable area, but was pleasantly surprised when I saw I saw the outdoor furniture and hanging tropical plants in the beer garden. The back of pub is appealing to a young, trendy crowd and the atmosphere they bring is fun and free.

I skimmed through the very simple pub food menu and didn’t see anything outstanding that I felt like eating so I ordered plain old ‘fish and chips’, making sure the dish came with tartar sauce and lemon.

After a bit of a wait my dish arrived and I was about as excited as when I was reading the menu. What appeared on my plate were 2 flathead tails and some frozen chips with a very basic salad.

My acquaintances ordered the lasagna and chicken poppers which were very generous in serving size.

The birthday boy I came here for got a chicken Parma which was incredibly cheesy. Apparently the ham was a little too thick, but the chicken itself was alright.

Sounds mediocre to me.

I’m not sure I would eat here again. Perhaps I would try the portabello mushroom burger as it looked quite good. I recommend the food here to hungry, drunk patrons.

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Northcote Social Club on Urbanspoon

Footscray 3031: The Reverence

The 45 minute wait for my chimichanga was worth it.

The generous servings and variety of gluten free, meat, vegetarian and vegan options on the menu attract a wide range of people.

My two daughters came with me to this run down bar in Footscray and were very pleased with the busy young crowd, and their meals. The pulled pork made from jackfruit, with apple sauce and almonds pleased my youngest daughter, and the eldest enjoyed the vegan quesadillas immensely. However she thought the bar’s slim selection of hot sauces could be improved.

Footscray does it again with fresh, affordable vegetarian food. I recommend this to anyone looking for decent bar food in inner west Melbourne.

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Reverence Hotel on Urbanspoon

Melbourne 3000: Mrs Parma’s

Mac & Cheese Eggplant Parma – Don’t get me wrong I love the Victorian beer here but the last time I went I ordered the eggplant with mac and cheese topping without the ham and I was expecting it to be just as great as the parmas I have had here previously.
When it arrived it looked like someone had spewed on my plate. Usually the flavours are spot on here, but you don’t put oregano on top of mac and cheese. The cheese and the béchamel flsvours were inseparable. It would be great if there was a separate mac and cheese option, and even better if this was included on the gluten free menu.
In regards to service the meal came on time and the waiter with the orange hair was the happiest and friendliest person I have ever met in hospitality.
For the mac & cheese topping, Mrs Parma needs to go back to Spice School and learn what to put on béchamel (hint: nutmeg, thyme).

Mrs Parma's on Urbanspoon

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Brunswick 3056: Gasometer

Southern fried chicken burger and fries – A place you would come to only if your friends band is playing and you wanted to eat unhealthy fried American diner food. The vegan options are great to have on a menu but there should be a burger (or something) without a large chunk of processed soy. A portobello mushroom burger with optional onion rings, Seasoned onion rings with good spices or creole chicken with a flatter and thinner soy burger would be great. The white sugary buns need to be replaced ASAP with something more grainy and healthy. It’s all well and good to serve sugary white bread rolls because it’s an American diner style menu but it’s 2013 and customers want healthier options.
The mac and cheese used to be fantastic when it was in smaller servings and came as a side. It’s brilliant to have mac and cheese on the menu so I hope it stays but improves in flavour.
In general gasometer food needs more seasoning, less soy , fresher options, better quality and healthier bread and to keep mac and cheese on the menu forever.

Gasometer on Urbanspoon

Carlton 3053: The Beaufort

The Beaufort was a dark and dingy place but with friendly staff and a memorable American diner burger.
When I say ‘dingy’ I don’t mean there was a dim romantic light filling the room, I mean I couldn’t even read the menu because it was so dark. I had to use the candle on my table and my iphone to read the menu. Also there was a terrible smell of beer and sweat inside. Apart from the tacky decor, bad smell and darkness, I did like was the friendliness of the staff. It was evident that the waiter was the only waiter on for the night and he was working hard. When my portobello mushroom burger came out I was pleasantly surprised! Even though I couldn’t see it. The burger was flavoursome, the sauce was brilliant and the spiced onion rings delicious- I would like to see these on the menu alone! The use of a higer quality bread rolls (not white for a start) would make me come back for another burger. Just because it’s an American diner doesn’t mean the bread has to be white and sugary, it’s 2013 and we want more nutritous bread. On a brighter note, the thick cut potato chips with skin left on were delicious! I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a secret herb and spice mix that was locked in a vault on two sides of the world and only the CEO of The Beaufort Hotel had the key. I might go back to the Beaufort if I’m feeling rather dim and ready to take on a sugary white bun.

The Beaufort on Urbanspoon

Flemignton 3031: Quiet Man Irish Pub

ImageSeafood platter and Deep Fried Mushrooms Nice decor, nice vibe in the main dining area & Good for a Thursday night trivia night. Regarding the food, The Menu is outdated, 70% of the menu is deep fried and there are limited options for those woshing to keep their arteries clean. The seafood platter was ghastly. The shrimps were not fresh. The quiet man who runs this place needs to shout out to the chef to dump the frozen seafood and fried food and get some contemporary bar food. Quiet Man Irish Pub on Urbanspoon

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