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Pub Of The Week review: Cross Keys Hotel, Essendon

PUB: Cross Keys Hotel.

WHERE? 350 Pascoe Vale Road, Essendon.

PHONE: 9379 7406

SCORE: 13/20

WHEN? September 16, 2016.



Second review (first circa 2006).

In the shadows of Strathmore station, the Cross Keys has been a long standing fixture in the Northern suburbs and covers much territory with an extraordinary large and excellently refurbished sportsbar (TAB), discreet room for the pokies and at a spilt level lower to the rear, a very neat bistro and general areas for lounging, sitting and socialising.

Comfy padded chairs, warm chocolate brown colour, its bistro is very sharp indeed.

The similarities with last week’s POTW  – Riviera, Seaford – occur almost instantly; big but not a barn, menu is good pub grub, with some nice twists, and the quality of the beer is excellent. (Did note that they are at $5.20/pot).

Very fair two-course offer to seniors ($18) is made.

More fair play to the pub that warns everything is cooked to order and there may be a wait, but even on a quietish weekday lunchtime, it did seem a decent break between a simple entree and main.


Plenty to choose from here.  All prices to the mark.

From a pub POV, a dozen oysters at $24/dz is fair and few venues bang this out under that figure.

Satay Chicken Tenderloins ($14), Moroccan Tiger Prawns, pan fried with garlic smoked paprika and roasted capsicum served with jasmine rice and minted yoghurt (19e/29M) are substantial entrees. 

Mains run to expectations with a difference, say a nasi goreng (25) or traditional chicken parma $26.

Top ticket is the 350g Portland Rump, fully plated, $39. Hmmm. Burger is $21, and a pulled pork brioche, coleslaw is offered around that mark..

Entrees (Bistro) $14, mains $27, desserts (as offered).


Vegetarian Spring Rolls (4) with sweet chilli dipper. $10. Long tubes, filo, packed with vegetables, second week in a row was a nice starter,

Chicken Breast Filo, pocketed with bacon, boccocini cheese, baby spinach and semi dried tomatoes with an apricot, orange and honey sauce with chips and salad $26.

Big serve of moist chook, loved the filling, but letdown by a bland and tired salad and soso chips. Pity, it was a good meal.

Spicy Seafood Risotto $28. Good plentiful seafood, rice done well, a spicy kick topped it off. Good main also.


Mainly commercial CUB portfolio, but the Carlton D was excellent and the glassware well cared for. Wine list supports the full range of DeBortoli with some fair shopping and some priced to the mark. $40/bottle//8 per glass is the standard.

A glass of Circa 1858 Chardonnay was chosen at $7/glass and was fine.


No problems, if anything may have been a team member short. Suspect the Cross Keys could get busy at night later in the week so patience may be needed.


For the second week running a good pub servicing its locals. The offer has no real shortcomings, but a tightening up with the accompaniments to the meal should fix things.

The Cross Keys is part of the northern  landscape has, and will, trade successfully for years. Pretty safe option.