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Pub Of The Week: Tony Leonard reviews the Elphinstone Hotel

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

The Elphinstone Hotel

14 Wright Street, Elphinstone.
5473 3165
Elphinstone Hotel (Facebook)

When? June 17, 2022.


Around 15 minutes past Kyneton is the small town of Elphinstone, (past Malmsbury/Taradale) and to be fair, there’s not a great deal there. The census of 2016, numbers the towns population  at 556. Indeed the VLine Melbourne to Bendigo doesn’t stop here, although given its proximity to the pub, the rail line could easily go through the dining room.

Kyneton, Castlemaine,  Bendigo are all close and offer so many  more options if a food adventure is your thing.

But, a quiet change has happened here in the last couple of years. Three generations of one family have taken over and with a deal of ambition of nous, have turned this little pub, aka The Elpho, into that perfect weekend drive (60-90mins) to sample some really smart pub food.

The brick pub, front façade painted black with cobbled footpath welcoming, is essentially a 2 room affair (excluding Beer garden) with the public bar reminiscent of your favourite Aunts lounge room of the 50s/60s, and the dining room, cosy/snug seating 25-30 at any one time.

Wooden barrels here and there; an old couch to relax. Simple but effective.

Grandmother works the dining room effortlessly (‘we don’t do desserts really as everyone is full from the mains’) and wants to ensure you are enjoying yourself. Her daughter runs the kitchen and is a dab hand with standards and specials aplenty.

Molly (the granddaughter) Jesse (son in law) look after front bar and ensure the Carlton D (5.5/pot) is spot on. Locals and visitors enjoy this haven. The pub operates Thursday arvo- Sunday arvo, and on day of review was near enough to full.

Clearly no TAB/No Pokies!

With great food and wine sourced locally, the family has created a loyal following. You will see why when you head to the Elphinstone.


Only by chance I found the pub’s Facebook page and a real effort had gone into promoting what the Elpho is about. Sharp, better  level pub grub, wine from nearby Kyneton, Heathcote, and an old fashioned family welcome.

Housemade Thai Springrolls, dipping sauce, pickled chilli (17) are massive cylindrical beasts, Arancini of chicken, bacon, cheese, Napoletana, (15) or perhaps Octopus Balls, kewpie, Tapoyaki, Benito flakes (15) appeals.

3 levels of loaded fries if you’re into a snack with a couple of drinks, highlighted by the Grubby Fries (16), which in racebook order reads;

  • Fries, loaded with Sriracha, Hoisin, Green Onion, Peanuts, chilli, crispy garlic, Asian Herbs.

Be my guest.

Mains range from Citrus Glazed Salmon(fully plated) $29, Duck Breast, Red Thai curry, lychee, pineapple rice, or a Gambian Sweet Potato stew, w/ peanuts, rice, bread (26).

Everything from scratch, sourced locally, all with deft touches to elevate.

The wine I sourced from nearby locations, e.g., Granite Hills Kyneton, Bull Run, (Sangiovese $11 pg, very good) from Barfold, Anderson Shiraz, Tooleen. All carefully chosen.

Average Prices:

  • Entrees: $16
  • Mains: $30
  • Dessert: (There’s a very good sticky date pudding, I’m told).

Tried was;

  • Pork Belly, chilli  caramel, Asian salad garnish, Nam Jim. $19.   8-10 fat bite size pieces of belly come in this deceptively sharp, but not overpowering chilli jus, all pork has the correct texture of crunch, fat, meat. Fine example of this popular dish.
  • Slow cooked lamb leg, w/ duck fat kipflers, glazed carrots, greens, roast pumpkin, Yorkshire pudding, garlic/rosemary/mint jus. $38. Monstrous serve, all done so well, all flavours making this a very special pub roast.
  • Porterhouse, 380g, grass fed, roast vegetables, mash potato, whiskey peppercorn sauce. $38. Beautiful piece of meat, however asked for rare and came out well, but so good the produce, the meat remained moist and flavoursome. Again fully plated and plentiful.

(Request to the pub – for sure the specials board changes, but many of the meals are constantly available. Please post on your Facebook page and change when needed. You have a great story to tell).


There are times when you happen upon a certain place, and are genuinely gobsmacked as to how good this place is and you want to make (and keep) it your secret. This is what happened when this little pub was visited.

And then you find out that it is family run – three generations – that you openly barrack for an enduring success and many years of trading.

In out of the way Elphinstone, a whistlestop town off the beaten track past glorious Kyneton, the hospitality being served up delights you so much, you feel validated by heading an hour and a bit of town to enjoy something really nice and moreover, support a family that is having a crack.

The Elphinstone Hotel: What a glorious find!

SCORE: 15.5/20

pub of the week