Pub Of The Week: Tony Leonard reviews the Ascot Vale Hotel
Ascot Vale Hotel
Where? 447 Mt Alexander Road.
When? January 29, 2021.
First time review of this pub, which was closed for a few months during 2020, but under new ownership, has sprung to life and gets 2021 off to a good start as Pub of the Week.
Much is compacted into a mid-sized space, and after an absence of more than two decades (I recall it being the King of Pub Chinese cuisine in the 80s/90s) has come up a treat.
There is a welcoming moderness to the pub, without overdoing it. A wall or two has been knocked out, a fresh lick of white paint, floors sealed and polished, with a small beer garden to the rear. (Great for your own private function).
In essence, it is a large area, replete with a couple of bars that allows easy access through areas. Plenty of space to have one, standing around with friends. Genuine all ages appeal. The Ascot Vale doesn’t have a TAB or any Pokies.
Food menu is a smarter variety of pub grub, and priced fairly. The same applies to the wine list which is around the mark as far as pricing is concerned.
The winner for me was the staff working the floor. Switched on, attentive, welcoming, but not overbearing. Whether it is the newness of operation, (starting since December), or a basic imperative to impress from the get-go, you feel at ease.
Already, the acceptance of the venue is obvious. The pub was full when visited, and reports since confirm you will need to book, especially later in the week.
Long and successful run anticipated.
It is expected in pubs that the suburb name is attached to a beer tap or food item and here is no different. May I present the Ascot Vale Dim Sim (3/$9), a deep-fried, mince spiced pork monstrous beast, that is simply glorious. It is not, as i was told, the world famous Sth Melbourne DS, transported up Kingsway to the Northern Suburbs.
Entrees number 5, including Potato & pea croquettes, ranch sauce $14, or Halloumi, cabbage pickle salad, lemon @ $15. On the mains – there’s a cheeseburger (19), there’s a parma (25 ) -and the pasta is a prawn and lobster spaghetti which sets you back $28.
Range of beer – well served and presented – has Carlton D (5.8/pot) supported by Bodriggy Pale (6.5), and Young Henry Newtowner. From wine, Sandpiper riesling (10pg/48/btle) was tried and enjoyed. Those prices are about the mean in pubs.
The average prices are;
- Entrees – $14
- Mains – $26
- Dessert – $10
- Salt/Pepper squid, aioli, lime. $14.5. Good start. Well flavored jumble of squid, hot, spicy.
- Pork Belly, carrots, corn cob, cranberry. $30. Good slab, with all the holy trinity of PB, crunch, fat, meat on display. Enjoyed the cranberry which teamed well with the Pork.
- Lamb Backstrap, hasselback potato, asparagus, tomato, pea puree. $32. Generous serve, pink inside, with a fine selection of vegetable to accommodate. Good pub eating.
On the right track for sure is the Ascot Vale under new ownership, which has its roots in the Railway Hotel in Yarraville village. It’s a gamble for sure, with the well established Laurel only 700 metresa away and new venues like The Mighty popping up closer to the Junction.
The Ascot Vale has made a very good start.