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Pub Of The Week: Tony Leonard reviews the Bush Inn Hotel, Toorak

pub of the week

Bush Inn Hotel

505 Malvern Road, Toorak.
9824 2855

When? July 12, 2019.

www.bushinnhotel.com.au

VENUE:

The Bush Hotel, aka The Hawksburn, aka The Bush Inn,  has been a mainstay on this busy intersection of for years, striding a path of a very  sporting pub, but reliable too as a place for a good quality family meal/get together.

Maybe 7 or so years ago, a major refurbish took place, including a name and direction change.  The exterior was painted in a deep chocolate colour and to this day looks fabulous.  The front bar had a look of low lit diner, wooden venetians, leather chairs, high ceiling.  Club lounge for sure and fabulous.

The pub then  decided to go upmarket with prices similarly so for top quality steak and seafood. Only issue was the place next door, is one of the eastern suburbs favourite bistros – Thierry – a francophile beacon for steak and seafood.

It didn’t work.

Up step the owners of the nearby Orrong and employ the same methods that have seen it return to form. Declutter the back bar, keep the TAB, and run it as it always has. A public bar.

The brilliant front of the pub facing Malvern , is now presented with good pub grub, service to match and an innate comfort that this space has always had. Meal deals all week, range of well presented beers and staff to make welcome.

The Bush Hotel understands and delivers what its customers want.  Good stuff.

FOOD:

Love the range offered here, genuinely falling into the clever pub category.  Smart starters such as Corn & zucchini fritters w/ sweet chilli sauce for $9, pan fried haloumi, rocket, lemon for $6, or a main of Spaghetti w/ roast pumpkin, carrot, sweet potato & zucchini ragu  at $24.  Something of the traditional the house burger – $19, up to a full whack 300g Black Angus P’House @$38.

Tried was;

  • Moroccan meatballs w/ hummus, feta & apricot Persian style salad (3)    /  $14.  Good starter. Spicy, flavoursome meatballs, equally smart flavours to accompany, liked the salad (words rarely used by me),
  • Chicken parmigiana w/ chips & salad    /  $15. (On special – normally $26).  Too good an offer to pass up on special and would happily pay full freight.  This was a very good representation of this pub fav.
  • Mushroom arancini w/ aioli (4)    / $12.  Ensuring that the mushroom flavours is evident is the trick here.  Too often lost. These were bang on.

DRINK: 

Plenty of tap to choose from, proudly on display in front bar, primarily from the CUB portfolio with some craft via Stone & Wood and 4 Pines.  5.5/pot, and well served.

Big wine and spirits list to suit all budgets. A little higher than the mean for a glass of wine with little choice under $50/bottle. West Cape Howe Shiraz ($13pg) was chosen. This is a most dependable label from WA.

SERVICE:

This is a ‘never miss’ approach to an upsell. With an array of styles of tap beer, the courteous and simple offer of a free taster is a winner. Here, no exception from the range if you were unsure. Table service, happy times, all good.

MUSIC LEVELS:

All good as it was hardly noticeable.  Thankfully not top 40.  7/10.

SOMETHING DIFFERENT:

For years, the mantra from hospitality industry – read as pubs – was the theatre of presentation.  Well if you like that sort of thing, backed up by the stuff that you actually consume, then the front bar bar at the Bush is a sight to behold.  Glorious cylinders of amber, with gleaming badges proudly on display, in a mesmerising, kaleidoscope of all the colors (beer types) imaginable. Tasted good too.

SUMMARY:

Smart operators have taken over the pub, returned the name to the Bush, and have gone back to basics – of sorts – with some new eyes to the future as far as food and drink is concerned.

Simply put, the back bar – decluttered – is perfect for anyone to stroll in and have a quick meal, game of pool or a sporty sip, while the impressive front bar is great for families, and taking your time over a well prepared meal.

Always been a good pub and never really lost form, but is focused and firing again.

SCORE: 13.5/20

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