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Pub Of The Week review: Tony Leonard visits the Golden Fleece Hotel

TONY LEONARD

PUB: Golden Fleece Hotel.

WHERE? 120 Montague Street, South Melbourne.

PHONE: 9696 9662

SCORE: 14/20

WHEN? April 7, 2017.

WEB: www.goldenfleecehotel.net.au

VENUE

Second review. (last circa 2010).

In the shadows of the Montague Street Bridge,  n (still) industrial to South/Port Melbourne, the Golden Fleece Hotel (GFH) which traded for a couple of years as the Fleece, has reopened and on the evidence of a Thursday lunchtime is being met with much approval.

In essence it is one open floor with all the action, of bistro and bar seating separated by a smallish front bar. It’s young modern without the ponce. Female friendly for sure. (Function area upstairs and looks good).

Posters of upcoming gigs decorate one wall, mural on another, but it is not overdone. Functional seating, barish tables but with a glass wall opening out onto the very spacious Buckhurst st., there’s no crowding. It is a very clever floor plan.

Food is a superior level of pub favorites and there are some tremendous bargains throughout the week. The pub loves its cocktails and has an armada of spirits to support this passion.

More power to the GFH trading 7 days early to late as while there is some residential, it is far from overrun by units, so workers of blue and white collar support the bottom line. No TAB/No pokies. Impressed by the overall cleanliness of the pub too.

Two things though.  I thought they were one short on the day I went (someone not turn up?) and while the ancient blue and white livery of Carlton was displayed on frosted fonts, I got something else. As I noticed a Gap/omission on the chalkboard displaying the tap beer, I suspect it was a supply issue.

Mere trifles. This pub is ticking over well.

MENU

Small, on point. Range of small plates, bar food and then some a la carte. Right day and you bag yourself a bargain. S&P Calamari, garlic aioli and lemon ($12), and Baked Pork, Sage & Pine Nut Meatballs in napoli sauce and melted bocconcini ($12) are a couple of starters; Chicken Snitz, chips//salad (20) from the bar or from the a la carte Pan seared salmon fillet with buttery garlic mash, french beans & mango chilli salsa (29). Good looking and well presented.

Some lunch specials including a fully plated steak (15), soft shell crab burger, chipotle, slaw (15) or  a cheese burger for a tenner. No wonder the GFH  was flying at lunch.

Entrees $12, Mains $25, Desserts $10

TRIED

Pea, ham, and bocconcini arancini with garlic aioli $10. Good. Seven smallish sized arancini, arrive hot, on a rectangular plate supported by the aioli. They are fresh as each individual component part is clearly evident, great beer food.

300g Porterhouse, chips, salad & your choice of sauce $15, lunch special. Good. A very fine lunch at the price.  Meat well seasoned, tasty, comes pressed rather than thick cut so it wasn’t MR more M.

That said, good eating, the salad was fresh, clean vinaigrette, some olives – Tick – and the sauce – pepper – was a beauty.

DRINK

Good mix of commercial and craft, with local boys Mountain Goat and Two Birds prominent. Plenty of bottled beer is available.

Wine is offered in 3 sizes 150/250/750ml.  A glass of the excellent Parrish Riesling from Coal River Tasmania cost $13,  but became a ripper bargain by the bottle (45). Indeed the per glass price is about the mark, but very favourable by the bottle.

SERVICE AND STYLE

Just seemed a little short handed when I went but the staff was young and engaging. Pay at bar, food brought to table. Music was at a great level – not too loud, funky but definitely had a Jamiroquai feel to it.  In spite of the hussle at lunchtime, it was done well.

SUMMARY

The GFH at once stage was an old boys, get on the drink, have a feed, and then have a few more, run by a bloke called Curly.

When you see the nearby industrial surroundings and the changes that have taken place in the workforce, you have to admire the pluck of the new boys to trade 7 days a week, early to late.

Also you are not in Bay or Clarendon Sts, so there’s a bit of passing traffic that needs capturing, otherwise it’s tumbleweeds at 20 paces.

But with their background of the very good Peacock Inn in High st Northcote, they clearly know what is required to be successful. Here, they seem to have all the ducks lined up with the right mix that attracts people to pubs. I think the Golden Fleece is in for a good run.

And they offer the most sage advice on the walls and back of the menu: BEWARE THE BRIDGE.

TONY LEONARD
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