Pub Of The Week review: Tony Leonard visits the St Albans Hotel
PUB: St Albans Hotel.
WHERE? 5 McKechnie Street, St Albans.
PHONE: 9366 2066
WHEN? June 3, 2016.
A first time (in my life) visit to St Albans Hotel (at back of St Albans station) pretty much delivered what I had expected from a big pub in a relatively outer Melbourne suburb.
Owned by the monolithic ALH group, it is essentially ticks boxes that confirm an offer commonplace outside the inner suburbs: pokies/sports bar (large and looked comfortable with plenty of screens), through to the Pokies (plenty of them), through to the large dining room (bare wooden tables and chairs) all the time the pattern of the carpet changing.
There is a function room, kids playground, and accommodation.
Good to note that the pub puts on a generous BBQ for Very Special kids each week, and the function area is great for community clubs to gather.
The menu has been seen times over and if you live in any outer suburb in Melbourne you will be more than acquainted with it.
There are some bargains (St Albans Burger $17) and most meals fall within the accepted price ranges for a meals at pubs (Mains 23-27).
Graziers steaks are ever present and range from a very fair 200g rump, chips/salad at $17, to a 250g Porterhouse at $27.
A surprising item was the Grilled Garfish, (16), with Mediterranean spices w/roast spuds. Tend not to see this species so good on them.
Pork and Chive Dumplings, soy and ginger dipper. 7 pieces $9. Nice. Bite sized pieces that had a good, balanced flavour.
Honey Mustard Chicken. $24. Kaleidoscopic. Four elements to this dish; Grilled chicken was dry and lacking in taste, grilled prawns were very good and meaty, mash was terrific, vegetables were cold.
Beef Schnitzel $18, chips and salad. Good. Nice pub staple, topside was seasoned and tender, simple fresh salad and chips made a for very good support. No faults.
Straight up and own offer out here, but the Carlton Draught which tasted fine and glassware was well treated, needed to be a tad colder. Wine ran to a corporate (BWS) line mostly but did see the cheapest per glass at $4.30 for a Wolf Blass Chardy for many a long day. The Craftsman Pinot Noir $32/bottle//8 per glass made for an easy drink over lunch.
SERVICE AND STYLE
Suspect there may have been some issue between function and dining as to who was served first. No issue because the wait was explained and wasn’t excessive.
Be backing our staff in Dining room over the kitchen when things quietened down. Straightforward is a good descriptor; I liked her.
The St Albans hotel is one of many of its type in the suburbs and in essence has that pub/hospitality market to itself.
Pubs of this ilk are easy to criticise but given the sheer size, it performs pretty as expected. If you want to have a quick OK meal and live in the area, then you’ll get it; if you are looking to critique for a gastronomic experience, you will need to go elsewhere. Simple.