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3AW’s De Bortoli Pub of the Week: Tony Leonard reviews the Rising Sun Hotel, South Melbourne

MML

Pub:                      Rising Sun Hotel
Where:                 2 Raglan St., South Melbourne
Phone:                 9696 2411
Date:                    16 October 2015
Score:                   14.5/20
Internet:            www.rshsm.com.au

OVERVIEW

Long standing favourite of the Melbourne scene, The Rising Sun ticks over in an understated manner, year in year out, and delivers a level of hospitality that is just that bit better than most pubs.

It’s across the board; the food is a level better, the beer is always good and lovingly served, and the staff is that vital ingredient that makes sure you enjoy yourself all the time.

It is a recent acquisition by Peter Giemza, whose ability to make pubs works from a scratchy origins is the stuff of legends in Melbourne.

Here was a no-brainer; The Rising Sun has rarely misfired and away from the main drag (Clarendon) in South Melbourne, it is a destination for most punters.

The pub is one ground level area (there is an upstairs function room) which is part shrine to the Swans (Both South and Sydney) small, mobile TAB (no Pokies), central bar into an open spaced dining room (bare tables) and more sedate, enclosed dining area.

It is delightfully well worn and female friendly. Food and drink specials blackboards (all in one handwriting are in the dining room) which is a plus to me. On a warm mid week evening, 8.30pm in a slightly off the beaten path, the pub is over half full.

Locals and Business people. Jazz on Sundays. Good times during the week and a place of comfort. It’s all good.

In the years (about 8) since a last review, there isn’t much that has changed which has as much to do with the fact that nothing really didn’t need changing.

The formula has stood the test of time; the passing parade just have to keep it ticking over.

And they do. The Rising Sun is a pub for all occasions, all seasons.

PRICE:                  bistro menu;

Entrees:               $14
Mains:                  $24
Desserts:             $10
Wine:                   $36//$8/glass

COMMENTS

The Rising Sun in South Melbourne has never been a ‘buzz’ pub whether it be a chef cooking there, or some architectural refit that makes it the talk of the town. Pubs like that have their moment in the sun but after a while the crowd moves on looking for something else. The Riser just does it well year in and out and like the Emerald once you sample you tend not to move on.

THE food is superior pub grub while the wine list is a nice mix of popular and hard to find.

Tempura soft shell crab salad, ($16), House made spring rolls with vietnamese mint with dressing ($15), grilled saganaki, roasted peppers, lemon ($12) are the lighter starts.

Mains tend to be around mid 20s, with Traditional Fish and Chips (Blue Eye) mushy peas and thick chips, tartare ($24) Lamb rump, spinach, root veg,  barley (28) or Confit duck leg, Cassoulet, Toulouse sausage (28).

Steak, Veal, Fish, with a better level of veg or salad make up an appealing menu.

Table service for food and drink – Yes. Bread, butter, chilled water – Yes.

The wine list is extensive and when I see a bottle of the very popular Shaw/Smith SavB at $36 in any pub or restaurant, you know you are not being cruelled.

And so it goes here at The Riser.  The lovely shade that the tree lined street provides has 2 tables out the front which are most appealing to have a finisher and is another plus to the pub.

Inside and out, day or night, this is one popular unassuming pub.

Simply the Riser in South Melbourne is a beauty.

TRIED:

?       Seafood chowder. Rich, buttery soup, plenty of fish/seafood, grilled ciabatta to accompany, the chowder was a wonderful start on a warm, warm evening.

?       Cevapcici.  6. $16. Rectangular wooden plate presents 6 spicy smallish round snags, spiced  (but not overly so) with dipping sauces, small salad comes as entree but easily could be a main. A few pub menus carry them but nowhere enough. Done very well here,

?       PIrie South Riesling – $8.50. Crisp Tassie white, pale colour good fruit. Good value.

SUMMARY

Most of us have a favourite pub and if I was on Family Fued my top response would be location, location. Let’s face it, if it’s just around the corner, we’ll put up with its shortcomings.

But pubs like the Riser stand a test of time and are perennially a customer favorite. All pubs do the same thing essentially so why is the Riser, like its nearby neighbour, The Emerald always popular?

Well, the food’s just that bit better/smarter; beer is always beautifully served with the glassware treated to bring out the best in the taste, women can walk in at any time and feel welcome, and the atmosphere is one of inclusion.

The finisher? The owner. Someone’s in charge, you are his business,  rather than some gormless, pony tailed male manager more interested in the functionality of his mobile or how many keys hang off the belt who’ll get their wages regardless.

That’s why.

All pubs, Riser included, will have ups and downs.  I’ll bet it will tick over successfully for many years to come.

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