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Pub Of The Week review: Tony Leonard visits The Provincial

TONY LEONARD

PUB: Provincial Hotel.

WHERE? 299 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.

PHONE: 9810 0042

SCORE: 13/20

WHEN? February 17, 2017.

WEB: www.provincialhotel.com.au

VENUE

First review as DeBortoli Pub of the Week.

One of the genuine stayers of the inner north, the Provincial has stood the test of time in the ever changing inner north of Melbourne.

The Prov retains that look of  ‘needs a good paint and render’ from the outside and similar feelings once inside.

But that misses the point; the charm has always been in looking shabby and unloved.

The bar is large, old school, maybe 12 taps to choose from, and the the heavy wrought iron bar stools means you will never tumble over.

The pub is monstrously big with room for music, parties and has a glorious and colourful back beer patio.

The food is easy, uncomplex, american diner style, designed to knock over quickly with a beer quickly and get back to the socialising. Thursday lunchtime, plenty in, the Prov was humming along nicely.

MENU

The menu is basically burgers, dogs, tacos and pizza.

Sure there are some ‘substantial’ meals, fully plated steaks, fish and chips, but really it’s short order, beer tucker.

There are some generous meal deals and the following is not a typo; Monday nights $5 steaks, fully plated. Thursday nights $5 tacos, Tuesday nights a Parma costs $14 ($7 saving), pizza is a tenner on Wednesday. Cape Grim Sirloin, onion rings, salad, tops the charts at $28.

Entrees – not really,  mains $18, desserts $5.

TRIED

1/2 Rack of ribs – $15/$30 full with Spiced lime and caper sauce.

Small rack, 4 ribs, meaty,  tasty and the dipper really suited the pork.

Comes with a small jumble green leaves.

Sloppy Dawg, topped with chilli pork, pickles, fried onion, cheese, chips, mustard and chilli sauce – $15. Big hot dog, smokey flavor, large roll to accommodate, is topped with a cracking pulled pork and is very neatly dressed.

Comes in a plastic basket, chips underneath, prepare to be messy.

DRINK

Stack of craft on tap, Boags is the nod to the commercial.

Plenty of bottles from home and abroad, e.g., Boatrocker APA, Stone and Wood Pacific Ale, Sierra Nevada Pale.

Wine is priced to the mark, which in basic terms starts at $10/glass//$45/bottle. Good and different to be fair. La Linda Riesling, safe option, was chosen and priced as above.

SERVICE AND STYLE

As expected from a Fitzroy pub. Young, energetic and a willingness to please.

Music was played at a right level at lunchtime. A tick is that the Prov is open from midday every day, in area that this practice is not commonplace. No faults.

SUMMARY

Much of the success of the Fitzroy food and drink (pub) scene can be traced to the forward thinkers of two decades ago when it wasn’t as desirable as it is today.

The Prov always had an edge and were doing different in a pub offer when others were happy to serve up a beer and a fight.

Today its look (grungy/rough around the edges) is replicated by many, the food is seen everywhere, but its sheer size and great beer backyard gives room to move and enjoy and love.

After all this time, the Prov remains popular amongst the masses with its easy offer of food and drink.

TONY LEONARD
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