Pub Of The Week: Tony Leonard reviews the Edinburgh Castle, Brunswick
Edinburgh Castle Hotel
Where? 681 Sydney Road, Brunswick.
When? May 7, 2021.
An absolute treasure of pub life in the Northern suburbs, the Edinburgh Castle proudly boasts it is the longest standing/ continuous operating pub in the area, in excess of 150 years.
And first timers coming to the pub would be right to think that not a lot has been done inside during its sesquicentenary of serving beer and food to the good folk of the area that rely on the no.19 tram or Upfield line train to get around. (You just don’t drive up and down Sydney Rd if you can avoid it!).
But that’s the attraction here. Entering from the corner of Albion you are met by a cavernous, massive horseshoe displaying and serving a different mix of beer, heavily leaning Craft.
Venture through the pub, and go back in time as massive rooms for seated dining, live music, pool and table tennis. (Yep, and not sure why you would have one but somehow at the EC it isn’t out of place).
There’s even a discrete space, seats two people only and separated by a table, cut into the brickwork outside. And to the rear is the rambling, tree filled beer garden, whose expansive space belies its environs as units/construction continue at a furious pace.
If you’re a fan of Supertramp, the album cover for Crisis? What Crisis? captures the look and feel of the beer garden perfectly.
Great menu, different, fairly priced, appeals to all tastes and preferences. The music from the bar fills the beer garden some 20 metres away, and you settle in and enjoy.
Two minutes in you get what the EC is all about: A pub perfectly suiting its suburb.
Snappy looking menu is divided into Shares/Mains/Classics/ Burgers/Pizza. All have a point of difference, and are generously and fully plated.
Cauliflower, Zucchini & Broccoli Fritters w basil mayo ($10) or Crab Crumpets, house made oven baked w/, creme fraiche roasted onion, herbs & aged balsamic are a couple of starters to ponder.
Different mains, such as Pad See Ew Noodles (18), portobello mushroom,seasonal vegetables, fried tofu, Thai style stir fry sauce, bean shoots, coriander, crushed peanuts & lime, sits alongside the Hot N Spicy Parma, a fillet of free range chicken topped w Napoli Sauce, ham, hot sauce, jalapenos, mozzarella, served w chips & salad. (25).
And the pub has all your dietary needs covered. As extensive as any pub, (or restaurant) anywhere. They are; V Vegetarian /VG Vegan /DF Dairy Free /GF Gluten Free /NF Nut Free / VGO Vegan Option /DFO Dairy Free Option /GAFO Garlic Free Option /OFO Onion Free Option.
Beer options include Coburg lager (a local hero), Boatrocker, Young Henrys, Keiju, Prancing Pony etc etc. The wine list is interesting, priced about the mean (12pg/55/btle) for pubs, and offers smaller producers like Valentine, Nomad Syrah, and Pachamama.
The average prices are;
- Entrees – $13
- Mains – $25
- Dessert – $10
- Steamed Sliders w tempura smoked tofu, vegan kimchi, chipotle Aioli & Fresh Asian herbs Korean steamed bun. 2 /$10. Big sliders, excellent mix of flavours, generous served.
- Falafel Burger w beetroot bun, house made falafel, tzatziki, pickled cabbage, lettuce & tabouli. $18. Proving to be different, a moist tasty burger, big size again, great to have a drink with in the beer garden.
- Steak and Ale Pie w Mashed potato, Greek salad & gravy. $18. Big tick to the kitchen for going to the effort and making it fully encased. Extra credit for doing a greek salad rather than a typical join the dots. Good pie, good flavours.
Meal deals, live music, trivia and a 7 day open door policy from midday (increasingly rare in the inner suburbs who don’t do TAB/Pokies) fill out the hospitality package.
And dogs? Well it wouldn’t/couldn’t be a true inner suburban pub without our best friend to accompany us. Baz, a German Shepherd was pooch of the Month for April.
As observation only, the manic destruction of big, inner suburban Melbourne pubs into units has abated. Given the size of the block, one can only wonder what the owners have knocked back to keep this one trading as it has since the mid 1800s. Thank you.
Gloriously grungy. May the Edinburgh Castle never change.