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Pub Of The Week: Tony Leonard reviews the Cross Tavern, St Kilda

pub of the week

The Cross Tavern

14 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda.
0400 033 081

When? August 2019
www.thecross-stkilda.com.au

VENUE:

In essence, the Cross Tavern is one large area, bar being the centerpiece doing a handy trade in food, drink and comfort at the beach end of Fitzroy st, near the Catani gardens.

Trading for around 6 months, the owner – Jock – has just quietly themed the Tavern Socottish, the first that I can recall to go down this path, although it is more subtle than Irsih/English taverns.

There’s a newness here, lovely white washed walls, with prints of Scotland – sporting and landscape – mixing in with some locals.

A little bit of Scotland in Melbourne is its apt descriptor.

The front of the Cross Tavern on Fitzroy st houses around 20 people or so, looks good and will fly when the really hot weather kicks. The menu is well priced, has points of difference and the highlight is the fine tasting Tennents lager, one of 8 or so taps.

Memory tells me this address has housed some big culinary hitters, including one of our most loved Iain Hewitson.

Just have a feeling in its unassuming way, that the Cross will be in for a successful run.

FOOD:

Some nice touches to the menu, most of which is done from scratch from the Kitchen towards the rear. It sits comfortably between the familiar, (pan seared salmon, leek, fennel puree – $28) and Tennents Scottish Pie, sweet potato, cheddar, $24).

Tried was;

  • Pumpkin, ricotta, burnt butter, sage Agnolotti – $14. Good start, great flavours, larger pasta. Nice, start,
  • Coq au Vin. $24. Mushroom, beans, bacon support the Chicken, slow cooked to the fall off the bone. Solid fare on a cold day.
  • Pork Rib eye, scottish black pudding, roasted turnips, green apple puree. $29.  Like the previous, good sized pork and the mix of flavours makes it a neat pub meal.

DRINK:

The pride of Scotland – Tennents – is the star of the taps here and tasting for the first time was a delicious smooth lager. But Guinness, Mortimers Cider, Orion, Furphy, Social Beat is a mix of local/overseas and excellently served.

Solid, small  wine list, priced at the standard mark, doesn’t stray too far and served in a variety of sizes. Bobbie Burns Shiraz  (250ml) was 13.5;  Preece pinot Grigio was $9pg.

MUSIC LEVELS:

Right levels for an unobtrusive playlist in the arvo.  7/10.

SOMETHING DIFFERENT:

The fact that there is a Scottish themed pub in Melbourne, is something in my time of talking about pubs, is a first.  The Cross does a single malt whisky paddle – 3 x 15ml – to sample some of the finest, with a matching Ministry of Chocolate for each. Different.

SUMMARY:

August has seen the full set of pub themed from the British Isles, adding Scottish to its current EU neighbours of England and Ireland.

Like its brethren, there is a simplicity to the hospitality delivered here, and while the “Scottish” is not overdone, it is undeniably linked to its roots. Barely going a few months, the Cross Tavern has found a small niche at that end of Fitzroy St., and with a neat offer of food and drink.  Should have a long run.

And everyone has a favourite scottish pop anthem. I’ll see you and raise you Painted Moon, by the Silencers.  Ask Jock to add it to the playlist and let it rip over Fitzroy St..

SCORE: 13/20

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