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Pub Of The Week review: Mona Castle Hotel

MML

PUB: Mona Castle Hotel.

WHERE? 53 Austin Street, Seddon.

PHONE: 9687 7636

SCORE: 13/20

WHEN? October 6, 2016.

WEB: www.monacastlehotel.com.au

VENUE

Third review. (last 2010). One of the last of the genuine old school pubs in the area, the Mona Castle in the backblocks of Seddon (yes it’s possible), still does a fabulous trade in the bleeding pub obvious and more power to it.

Wide, welcoming front bar, fabulous narrow rectangular dining room (one of my favs after 21 years of POTW), covered beer garden/function area and a separate lounge room which is primarily a shrine to the Footscray Football Club, the pub’s location in a quiet suburban street catches you a little by surprise but once inside you love it.

The food is straight up and down pub grub from the Dead Sea Scrolls, the beer taps you have seen before, but it works. TAB yes, Pokies no.

And the kitsch? How about mini Western Bulldog jumpers on the backs of the bar stools, which add nothing really to one’s comfort but having not seen them before (watch them catch on), was a glorious reinforcement of where you are: Bulldog territory.

MENU

Brevity of menu here. A couple of entrees , calamari and bruschetta, and say 8 mains, a couple of desserts and that’s it. There’s a pot and parma night – $15 and the Steak is cheaper on Thursday with a $10 shave at lunch. Lambs Fry and Bacon from the standard menu (18) parma (20) and from the specials a mixed grill (steak, snag, bacon, lamb cutlet, egg chips – all the food groups) was $25. You do get to eat in the lovely Dining Room, covered in cloth and butchers, adorned by local artists fine work in oils.

Entrees $12, mains $20, desserts $9.

TRIED

Lemon Pepper Calamari, rocket, red onion, parmesan, garlic aioli $12e//18m. Good. 8 pieces, well scored and spiced had been cooked and presented properly (hot with the right crunch).  Good example of this popular pub starter.

MR 250g Porterhouse, chips, salad, sauce. $18 (normally $28). Good. Cooked and seasoned beautifully, meat a little tough – not fatal – came with a fresh salad and standard chips.  No problems

Bangers and Mash, Bacon, Onion Gravy.  $18. Good. Two big thick glorious tubes of lamb and rosemary were a treat. Mash was both lumpy and smooth, which at best can please half of the population, stack of bacon and gravy, this is a pub dish that has stood the test of time.

DRINK

Straightforward drawing on the Carlton Portfolio. The Draught was very good, the lace clinging to inside of the pot.  $4.70/pot.  Wine options were extensive and had enough $8.5/glass//mid $30’s options. (I’m still surprised in the surge of wine prices in pubs in 2016).  Zema Estate ‘Cluny’ Shiraz $9//$38/bottle. All good there.

SERVICE AND STYLE

Simply owner/operator friendly.  Unhurried, unfussed, interested in you, chatty, warm: Good.

SUMMARY

The Mona had to be the choice after the Dogs’ breakthrough win in the GF.  In the area, save for the Victoria (a stone’s away from the Mona), very few if any, remain as preserved (indeed trade), like the Mona. The pub could provide a bit more love to its website and sell more, but if understated is its calling card then so be it.

If you want to go to a genuine old school pub in Melbourne and just enjoy, then the Mona Castle should be a destination. Who knows? You will fall in love with the area, and have your own local across the road.

Don’t change.

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