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Pub Of The Week: Tony Leonard reviews the Clayton Hotel

pub of the week
Article image for Pub Of The Week: Tony Leonard reviews the Clayton Hotel

The Clayton Hotel

319 Clayton Road, Clayton.
9562 8778

When? July 1, 2022.


Arising from the popular L’Unico Hotel to be reborn as The Clayton Hotel (TCH), this pub has had a serious makeover to be an all things to all people venue in this very busy SE Suburb from Melbourne.

In the shadows of the monstrous skyrail station, the pub’s main activities (aside from functions/receptions/corporate etc., on the first floor), takes place on the ground floor and is typical in layout of many pubs of its type as you move further out from Melbourne’s CBD.

Striking red and gray exterior on the corner of Clayton/Haughtons rd, TCH houses  PubTab, Ventilated sealed smoking room, Bar, Pokies, Dining Room.   Outdoors is supported by a large marquee for dining, socialising and a bit of high rise trainspotting.  (Hmm, the 422pm to Cranbourne must have been cancelled).

TCH packs a lot in a modern and compact space.

What was enjoyable was the genuine “can-do” attitude from staff, and a diverse food menu (heavily Italian) from the open kitchen in the dining room.   Good menu, priced right, and a cheerful and helpful head of the dining room who was happy to recommend.

And more love to the kitchen as nearly everything is done from scratch, and as it is family run, there is some autonomy afforded to the menu, rather than one product across a number of venues.

Plenty of choice, reasonably priced, dotted with very reasonable daily specials, (M-W $20 fully plated meals), happy hour (4-6, M-F, $5/schooeys) TCH is a solid pub citizen.


While the menu runs very much to a suburban pubs hits and memories, the meals here have some nice touches from the exposed kitchen in the dining room.

Entrees have a couple of choices, with Chicken tenders, spicy mayo/lime (15) or S&P Calamari, wild rocket, aioli (16).  A grazing platter for 2 with meats, cheese, olives, sourdough is $22.

Mains have the schnitzel/parma/burger/pasta options (Linguini w/prawns/chili $26 looked great), there are some surprises with a stir fry of chicken/rice cake/ crispy poached egg (?), shallots (27).  2 steaks are offered.

Very fine Carlton D (5.4) from taps that are popular commercially and the wine list is offered in 150ml/250ml/Btle.  Pepperjack 250ml, $15.5/gl and DJW Riesling, larger size too, is $13.50/250ml. Excellent choices.

The average (bistro) prices are;

  • Entrees – $14
  • Mains – $27 (steaks higher)
  • Dessert – $8 (cakes/tarts made on venue. Go the chocolate fondant!).

Tried was;

  • Three cheese arancini, tomato salsa. 3/$10. Good start, made on premise, neat, fresh flavour, no faults.
  • Fish and Chips, tartare, chips, salad. $26. 2 big fillets of flathead were blisteringly hot, and the batter crisp. Chips/Salad fine. Why were these superior to other similar offerings? The option of grilled (I didn’t!) was provided. Reason? Done from scratch rather than arriving on premise already battered. Challenge? Next time at a pub, ask if the Fish can be served Grilled. Hmmm!
  • Porterhouse, 250g, Chips/salad. $39. Good staple of pubs, and this one no exception. Meat cooked to order (MR), well seasoned, the peppercorn sauce packs a punch.


Solid, steady as she goes fare from TCH in all facts of pub hospitality.

What struck me was the age of the staff working the bar/floor on a busy Wednesday, (read as mature) leading to the conclusion that many have worked here at TCH or previous incarnations as there was a genuine pride in what they were doing and no request was left unanswered or too much trouble.

Indeed, proud to serve and help.

For sure typical enough of pubs that in the ‘bubs that are set out like this but TCH, in a smaller space, delivered a nice hospitality punch.

TCH proudly proclaims that it has the most eloquent functions in the SE. Speaks for itself really.

SCORE: 13.5/20

pub of the week