Pub Of The Week: Tony Leonard reviews the Batesford Hotel
Where? 700 Ballarat Road, Batesford.
When? March 5, 2021.
Trying to categorise this week’s pub, The Batesford, is elusive.
It isn’t your typical country pub in look as it is long rectangular with a split of timber and brick. It advertises itself as a wedding venue, although it is as much a pub as it is a reception centre.
And while most pubs, everywhere, have some form of WiFi connectivity, the pub is at the base of a hill, in a hollow, so forget about checking the results on your TAB phone account.
The Batesford is on the Ballarat Rd out of Geelong. Easiest direction is turn right, instead of left (which leads into Geelong West) and head towards Bannockburn (A300).. From the turn, it’s around 7 minutes and you veer into a service road once in Batesford. About 60 minutes from Melbourne.
Small front bar, wooden and 3 main rooms for dining, all colourfully set out. The staff is fun (Drago is a ripper) and is family run. A plus was that on a very busy, 2 birthday parties and wedding from the night before, the pub ran efficiently informing how long meals would be and kept to their word.
It is well worth looking at the wedding area which although is attached to the pub, creates its own identity and has beautiful gardens at the rear for that special day. The Batesford also provides accommodation as part of the package.
The food and drink menus are compact, but the pub does things with a bit of dash and mostly succeeds.
Another fine example of a country pub in Victoria is the Batesford.
Genuine small menu in both food and drink, but all bases covered. Best is they come fully played as your main. Spicy Chicken Wingletts, greek yoghurt, potato (gaufrettes) chips at $18 was the standout entree, while mains covered Moroccan Braised Lamb Shank, all trimmings (32), to Pork Scotch (pubs version of surf and turf) which at $36 is topped with Moreton Bay Bug, Prawns, Bearnaise. It is also offered with the Porterhouse.
Carlton Draught (5.5/pot) and Mountain Goat Pale 6.5/pot are the mainstays from the tap. Wine is mostly sourced locally (Bellarine has some beauties) and 6ft6 Pinot Gris ($11pg), Montara Cab Sav (Grampians 12pg) were enjoyed. If there is a group the cost per bottle is very fair: basically it’s 5 glasses for the price of 4.
The average prices are;
- Entrees – $18
- Mains – $32 (fully plated)
- Dessert – $14
- Char Grilled Porterhouse, grass fed, chips/salad, pepper sauce. $32. Large slab, 300g, cooked MR, arrives on a smallish rectangular plate, with good salad, hot chips (to the end of meal which doesn’t happen nearly enough), good sauce. All included, right price, neat pub meal.
- Duck breast, sauteed wombok and bacon, parsnip ribbons, fondant potato, blackberry just. $35. Another big plate, the duck breast needed a minute less, still tasty. Stack of bacon, wombok (chinese cabbage) not as noticeable, blackberry jus a winner with the duck. Good meal, borderline very good.
- Brulee of the Day. $14. Today’s was Raspberry/White Chocolate. Rich, creamy with a bit of theatre as a white spirit (sambuca but not sure) is set alight to caramelise the top. Return to the 60s. Lovely finish to the meal.
The Batesford provided a delightful and different pub experience. Why?
Well it doubles (but doesn’t intrude) as a wedding venue, does a brulee of the day (that’s a first) and doesn’t have WiFi coverage (heavens above you have to make conversation)!
On a sidenote may I congratulate Liam and Michelle on their nuptials here on 20 February; happy life to you both (even though we have never met).
If you like going to quirky pubs, the Batesford is in many respects a close relative of the Radio Springs Hotel in Lyonville in look and feel.
The tagline for ALDI supermarkets is aptly applied to the Batesford: Good. Different.