3AW - Fairfax Radio Network

What we're talking about

  • Jack Chang on Ballcourt Hotel Has this hotel changed hand recently, freehold and business or just business? They had an auction sometime last year but no ... more
  • Graham on Manhattan Hotel, Ringwood You are totally right Tony. Pubs in the burbs have focussed too much on bright lights, brass & silver fittings, poker ... more
  • Janet Willson on Mount Macedon Hotel Thanks for your great sharing of Mount Macedon Hotel. I like this. more
  • brighton pub on Grosvenor Hotel I will definitely visit this pub atleast once as its a rare pub beacon in the southern suburbs. more
  • Sav on Glenferrie Hotel Hi we have never been to your pub however we are wanting to have a family Easter lunch for approximately 20 people ??One ... more
  • kathy Mcintyre-Davidson on Review: Millers Inn Love the Millers ! Have been away from Melbourne for 20 years and that place still serves the best t-bone steak!! more
  • Kelley on New release movie reviews - November 8 Grant is portrayed as a saint, which is misleading and manipulative. The message this film sends to the black community is ... more
  • kg on New release movie reviews - November 8 I disagree with the review on Fruitvale. Oscar's flaws were obvious and uncomfortable. The manager who denies him his job ... more
  • Heath on REVIEW: Union Hotel Yes. In the union at the moment. Love this place. Not surprised to learn its owned by the same people as the standard. ... more
  • peter michelsz on Ballcourt Hotel can anyone tell me what last weeks pub of the week was 26-7-2013 more
  • Vera on Plough Hotel We enjoyed a lunch at this hotel last weekend, the place was packed (a good sign).Fourteen of us had lovely meals which ... more
  • Bill on Pub of the Week 2013: The search ... Hello Tony,Recently I had the nicest surprise I have ever endured I attended a private function at the Spotswood Hotel well ... more
  • Jeff on Pub of the Week 2013: The search ... Tony, The popular Zorka and Volbi are back at The Orrong Hotel - 709 High st Armadale (they sold North Fitzroy Arms)! Yes, ... more
  • Shane W on Pine Grove Hotel How long have these 2 pubs been on the website? more
  • Bill Graham on Pub of the Week 2013: The search ... You really MUST try The Snug Public House, 68 Sydney Road, Brunswick.... Kim and Michael are building one hell of an eating ... more
  • tony on Lord Newry Hotel we do sunday lunch and i must say the rose hotel was one of the best keep it up more
  • Shane W on Prahran Hotel How come this page hasn't been updated for weeks? Looking forward to more reviews. more
  • IAN on Pub of the Week 2013: The search ... Tony ???Still none in the Pakenham-Dandenong- Cranbourne- Rowville.??area To far for the "MAN" who travels by Train. more
  • michele on Woodlands Hotel Absolutly fabulous pub went there wednesday for a curryand a pot/cider for $15 food great service excellent and decore ... more

REVIEW: Middle Park Hotel

Posted by: Tony Leonard | 26 February, 2010 - 9:36 AM
Middle Park Hotel

Pub: Middle Park Hotel
Where: 102 Canterbury Rd
Phone: 9690 1958
Date: 5 February 2010
Score: 15.2/20
Internet: www.middleparkhotel.com.au

REVIEW: It was in August 2008 that I went to the Middle Park Hotel, then trading as the Gunn Island Hotel, its name reflecting the micro-brewery housed there. My recollection of it was, as it always had been, not bad but too much “vacant” space to foster that wonderful warm pub feel.

I don’t care where you live, the fundamental essence of a pub is to have a thriving front bar to meet, greet and generally crap about on about nothing in particular.

It is now the Middle Park Hotel and the micro brewery is gone. The MPH opened in the latter stages of 2009 and rave review has followed rave review.

Simply could it be that good?  

The answer is yes, but not for the reasons so many others have lauded it loudly. From a food only POV, it sits comfortably alongside other near “gastropub” neighbours such as O’Connell’s, Montague and the Albert Park.

Difficult trick #1 with a pub is  achieved easily at the MPH; in spite of looking like a blokes-from-top-end-of-own-doing-lunch-and-ridiculously-high-fiving-each-other when gag is cracked, it is female friendly in spades.

The team behind the MPH have a track record of success – the owners created the wonderful Richmond Public House in Church St; the chefs banged out the tucker at The Bot, when it was the ONLY spot to be seen at.

Inside at the MPH, the Melbourne Cricket Club wood panelling, monogrammed carpet and sporting memorabilia bring the warmth and comfort; the large front bar serving up a range of tap beers including White Rabbit and Little Creatures re-enforces its pursuit of being a pub with great a great offer and not a restaurant transplanted into a pub.

I stuck with a Carlton Draught and very good it was too.

The ‘front’ bar menu makes for interesting reading. I can guarantee that I haven’t seen scotch eggs  ($9)  on any menu in 15 years of doing this segment but there they were, as if the CWA was knocking up the food and a giant pavlova or trifle was your treat if you ate them up.  (Yes pav/trifle - $12-14 is on the menu also!).

Fish fingers, offal and a fabulous pie of the day (this time peppered Black Angus, mash/peas) for $25 that screamed eat me when presented are staples of the package that Paul Wilson brings with outrageous success wherever he cooks.

The dining room remains ‘at the back’ of the pub and that ‘boys own’ feel resonates loudly there. It's meat, meat, meat (and a fish), served big, dominating the landscape.

Tried was a “John Dee” 150day aged scotch fillet, 250g at $29. Arriving on the ubiquitous wooden plate, this most gorgeous piece of meat, with the richest béarnaise, was simply wonderful. Cooked rare to medium rare, I now know why JD meat is so highly regarded.

Grilled kingfish, {$34} was a massive slab of white, moist, flesh (again with a small salad), its skin lovingly crisp. The moral: the MPH doesn’t just do meat brilliantly.

In support was a Black Russian (small red/purple) Tomato salad and triple cooked chips, both extras charged at $8-9. This was a different type of tomato, and their bruised looking exterior belied the intense flavour they contained.

Wine list is massive and plenty of options by the glass from $8.

The best trick though that has been pulled off at the MPH is use of space. Given the stainless steel brewery took up a massive amount of space, after it was decommissioned the pub felt too big, too sterile. Not anymore. Clever use of booths and panels have somehow closed down the excess space, and it is not only looks great, but feels like a proper local comfortable watering hole,

A very small gripe though is their website; it gives little, tells you nothing which is a pity.

But the MPH is a shining example of what pubs could be, should be.  

A real contender in 2010.

Blog comments Your Say

Post a comment * Mandatory fields