3AW’s De Bortoli Pub of the Week: Tony Leonard reviews the Wallace Hotel
Pub: Wallace Hotel.
Where: 741 Bungaree-Wallace Rd, Wallace.
Phone: 5334 0322
Date: 9 October 2015
Just short of the 100kms mark from Melbourne just off the Ballarat road is the Wallace Hotel, a good old fashioned country pub in this lovely hamlet.
The pub is deceptively pretty without being over the top and the manicured lawns out front, expertly painted exterior and spankingly clean inside, it’s not quite the country pub you had in your mind, yet still a little rough around the edges.
Through the very neat front bar and the big dining room opens up. Massive high timber beams, bluestone, monstrous fireplace (let’s face it, you are a stones from Ballarat) and it’s a kind of pub ski chalet.
Tables, and chairs of mixed parentage proliferate and the scene relaxes you. It gives out a happy vibe.
Food and wine neither stretch the imagination nor pocket. The draught beer – Carlton – is very good and the glassware is well cared for – an increasing issue in pubs.
The success as many of its type is attributable to the fact it is owner/operator and the husband and wife team take an easy going yet hands on approach that has elicited a loyal following.
No TAB/No pokies.
The Wallace can be described as quaint/lovely and is the vision of the lady governor. Painstakingly the whole area has slowly come together and today ticks over beautifully.
Go there and you’ll see why. The Wallace is a good country pub.
PRICE: bistro menu;
Word of mouth is a such a powerful (and cheap) advertising too and so it proved here.
The Wallace is a beautiful, welcoming pub. I will not add the flowery ‘little’ as once moved through the timber, comfy front bar, it opens out onto a massive dining room, then through to a lovely secluded beer garden.
Bocce rink at the back, small shed/stage and it is a pub for any occasion in any weather.
It is a happy pub. Staff thrilled to see you (order at front, meals brought) and there is a natty mix of modern and traditional and in short best summed as good pub grub.
Entrees run the gamut of breads – garlic, pizza, bruschetta but tried (also) were chorizo toasts – 6 for $6 – which were warmed to bring out the juices, drizzled with some balsamic on top of small toasted bread with a smear of garlic butter.
Gee they were tasty, fantastic beer food.
Mains don’t stray too far from the obvious. Roasts/Pies of the day, (all early 20s), pub classics, pizzas, with the top price (steak exc.) being grilled salmon, mash, spinach, tomato salsa, and rice noodles at $27.
Nothing to frighten off the locals and absolutely no issue with the plates being plentifully stacked.
Wine list here offers nearby such as Warrenmang (Moonambel), Wanted Man (Heathcote) Blue Pyrenees. All very fairly priced around the $30 mark.
THE Wallace is living proof that you don’t need to overcomplicate hospitality. A right offer, combined with attitude and you give yourself a chance.
In speaking with owners I commented on how popular the pub is; the reply was they were down a little on the previous week so the message is to book before the long drive.
Simply, happy, friendly – it is a good country pub.
? Salt and Pepper Squid, w/aioli – $12. Best of the dishes tried. Right taste, cooked with the right crunch and heat, the pub said it was a fav and was a beauty
? Roast of the day – Lamb, all the trimmings. $22. Not bad, but the meat was a more than touch underseasoned to the point of being bland and (it’s not the sole domain of this pub) definitely way too much gravy at base of the meal which has drowning effect on the dish. No issue with generosity but fell a little short to be fair,
? Double crumbed sausages, mash, bacon, gravy – $16. Old, old, BC, pub food. Had to try, was as expected, comments on gravy as per above,
? Trio of puddings; chocolate, apple, sticky date, w/ice cream – $12. Homemade, tasty, lovely finish.
The Wallace Hotel is a wonderful country pub and evidence of its popularity was visible on a Sunday lunch where there was only a couple of seats left and the widest cross section of ages there.
And you have to love invention. The Wallace was the pub that founded ‘Wallace wants a wife’ where unattached men and women would gather in February (started 5-6 years ago) and well, look for love. So popular is it that the call goes out each year for more………….blokes.
To date, 15 weddings have taken place: thousands of untold stories lurk.
And even if you stand around like an observer at a wedding at least you can say you had crumbed snags, in a pub, in 2015.
Well worth the trip from town.