Pub Of The Week: Tony Leonard reviews the Glenferrie Hotel in Hawthorn
The Glenferrie Hotel
324 Burwood Road, Hawthorn
When? September 14, 2018.
Third review (last circa 2015).
The first impression you have on entering the Glenferrie is how good the pub looks. Not in a pristine, can’t-touch kind of way. Just how wonderfully pubby* it is.
The second impression is how big it is. The beer garden at the rear looks fabulous with a small stage; the front with polished hardwood tables set with large salt and pepper shakers adorning them. You are seated within touching distance of the bar, but have space.
All pubs should have a centrepiece and this is the pubs’ showstopper located in the Glenferrie Room. Approachable like the one in Cheers (I can still see Norm) yet bigger, with a stack of choice and width to claim your territory and have one or two around it.
This is the 2018 version of the Glenferrie and it is a beauty. There is a vibe and genuine food and drink specials each night, trivia nights and happy hours and (something that I am asked often) a Sunday Roast – two choices – with all the trimmings.
No TAB/No Pokies. With accommodation as part of the package, a large function room for a big gathering, expansive range of food and drink menus, Hawthorn and surrounding suburbs have a ripper go-to pub in spite of few options of this type.
It is a neat trick to be all things to all people but the Glenferrie goes as close as any in Melbourne to achieving this.
*“Pubby” is not a word.
The Glenferrie does superior pub grub. Most of these you have spied before on menus, but there is a little add on to elevate them. The choice is numerous. For example, entrees include chicken skewers marinated in rosemary, garlic and lemon with Romesco sauce ($18) or mini tacos for $2.
Roasted cauliflower and grilled corn with chipotle mayonnaise, guacamole served on soft tortilla is $12.
The pub does the honor roll of grub favourites but has elevated its steak offering with two staples – Porterhouse and Eye from Hopkins and O’Connor – and some ever-changing cuts. The cabinet looks fabulous where it is hung.
Overwhelmingly, all food is prepared on premise and is priced within the median range of good pub grub in Melbourne.
Entrees: $14. Mains $27. Desserts: $12.
Peking duck and shitake mushroom spring rolls (3) with pickled cucumber and nuoc nam dressing $15 and Prawn and ginger dumplings (6) with sweet soy $16. Good. Two popular, well-presented share starters, packed with flavour and so fresh. Done in-house, they certainly were a better level entree.
300g Hopkins River Porterhouse. $38. Very Good. Coming with a choice of sauce and shoestring fries, this was done perfectly medium-rare, a pointer to the fact that the pub is trying to create a name for itself as a pub that specialises in steak. (A salad is extra but will be enough for two. Carrying two cuts, supported by a rotating specials list of meat, cabinet displayed, this is already proving a winner for the Glenferrie.
Massive range of beer from big and smaller hitters, similar deal with wine. The pub is not afraid to carry plenty of choice to meet a customers needs. The Carlton D was wonderfully presented, glassware lovingly cared for, creamy and clean taste. Very well done, one of Melbourne’s best I’ve tried this year.
Wine, too, is similarly encyclopedic and also carries an excellent range of top end great Reds from Penfolds if you wish to pony up. The medium price of $10/$45 is about the mark.
SERVICE AND STYLE:
To me, this is why the Glenferrie is one of the best pubs east of the CBD. Run by Mark O’Reilly (Platform 28/Elephant and Wheelbarrow/Bridie O’Reilly), the staff has brilliant surroundings to work in, and there is an attention to need that can be overlooked in a mid-larger sized pub. Neatly attired, happy to chat, the environment set is reflected in the service it provides.
The Glenferrie gets it right. The pub looks fantastic on entering and then offers a level of service you would hope for anytime you spend your hard earned. (Sadly this is not always the case, as you know).
Whether it is the fabulous beer garden to the rear, or having one at the bar, it is worth taking in the attention to detail that the pub has put in (dollars and effort). It might be the emerald green half height tiles; it could be the leather lounges. The heavy wooden panels that dominate the interior are a feature.
I could go all Hal Todd/Delmonte Suit on you with a ‘looks good, feels good, is good’ but I’ll resist, and say if you are in the East and you don’t want to come into or cross town for a pub experience, then head to the Glenferrie which has all bases covered.
Photo: The Glenferrie / Instagram