Pub Of The Week review: The Woodlands Hotel, Coburg
PUB: Woodlands Hotel.
WHERE? 84-88 Sydney Road, Coburg.
PHONE: 9384 1122
WHEN? April 1, 2016.
Second time (last visit 2012).
In 2011, a very bold gamble was undertaken and millions were spent in transforming this good old pub in Sydney Road.
The results were stunning as the mix of brick/timber/steel downstairs, big bar to stand and chat at, upstairs dining with larger than life Alice In Wonderland figures, fabulous back room/garden and the Woodlands came to life.
Would it work as the pub, ahead of the curve, went exclusively craft beer? Yes and then some.
With upscale but essentially pub grub going with the beer, the Woodlands is now established with locals and those from areas afar.
The pub has the right mood, all the right come-ons eg. cheaper curry nights, trivia and Sunday music sessions. Potentially it has all ages appeal.
The menu loves to please and it demands you have a second look.
Interesting starters of Cuca sardines (10) in olive oil or Mauritian Sweet/Sour Pork (12).
The menu is constantly changing with a range of specials, say char-grilled Western Plains Pork chop, quinoa, silverbeet sweetcorn salad, kipler fondant (27) or from standard a big Free range chicken parma, taleggio and sopressa salami, salad and chips (26).
Entrees $12, Mains $28, Desserts $13. Waygu Burger $20.
Jalapeno and smoked cheddar croquettes – $6. Yes.
A bowl of hot, gooey spicy little balls, say 7/8, arrive to partner the beer. Loved it.
Fish of the day – Roast Salmon, clam chowder, mussels, pippis and saffron potato – $28.
Very Good. Thick, white, moist rectangle of fish, great bits to support, a different take on FOD.
Soft shell crab burger – $19. Good. Big slab of fish, with brioche, asian slaw, tomato and chilli jam, fries, this was a nice take on a traditional burger. One more for the genuine lovers of SSCrab.
Craft, tap and bottle and plenty of it.
All big hitters and lesser knowns. Stouts, Pils, Wheats, IPA, American.
You want a style : The Woodlands stocks it.
Red and Wine – Smaller and Boutique. Mid $40s a bottle which is the at the limit (for me) price now with wine in pubs. Ferryman Pinot Gris from Mornington Peninsula was tried. Very good.
SERVICE AND STYLE
Friendly, chatty, welcoming – happy to advise and importantly, given the range of beer and wine, are kind to offer a taster before buying for those uncertain.
That in itself, is a level above.
The Woodlands gets better with age. More interest in craft – the push is now unstoppable and people want to try different – combined with its food is delivered with ease. Unashamedly, the pub is in my top 15 in Melbourne and long may it prosper.