Pub Of The Week: Tony Leonard reviews the King Hotel
120 King Street, Melbourne.
When? May 13, 2022.
The King Hotel, corner King/Lt. Collins, has had a few aliases over its time i.e., Sheeps Back is one such, which is no surprise given its location being in the very old Wool Exchange Building.
In essence one large space, the pub packs a fair bit in with one largish rectangular wooden bar the centrepiece; plenty of tables and chairs to sit and dine, with perimeter (and slightly raised) seating against the walls. An old, good looking brick building is the facade with seating on the King St footpath, it is a shrine to all sports inside.
There’s a lot to like. Trading 7 days a week (mostly) at the bottom or less glamorous end of town, shows a commitment to those who want to meet up at any time and enjoy the AFL/NRL/NBA/NFL; office workers enjoy meeting up and perusing the fan friendly menu.
Daily specials are very fairly priced with Mondays for Steak $20, Pizza $10, Parma and pot (3 great words run together are music to the ears) is $20 on Wednesdays.
The King has discreetly pushed its TAB to the side of the bar so the horses don’t interfere with the public and a real win is the outstanding screens to beam all the sports into a number of parts of the pub to give you space to enjoy your preferred sport. Big and crystal clear.
The food and wine offering are not overstretched so you will be familiar with the total offer.
The King has a most presentable and user friendly offer.
Small bites, mains, classics, grills, are the 4 sections of the menu the likes of which have been perused before and often.
Braised buffalo wings with Frank’s hot Sauce (15) or Karaage Popcorn Chicken (14) are big in size and easily shared. Parmas, Burger, Calamari form the bulk of the Classics: Chilli Pesto Chicken (28) is a pan seared chicken breast, sweet potato & macadamia mash, pistachio & chilli pesto, creamy mushroom sauce, Beef Cheeks (30), smoked mash potatoes, baby carrots, red wine jus are some from the mains section.
In closing if it’s not from the Parmas list, guaranteed the Pizzas will have some pub culinary alchemy. Here, for $24, there’s the Harissa Spiced Chicken, grilled capsicum, red onion, spinach, chili, chipotle mayo.
Be my guest.
Carlton Draught is the preferred at $6 and is nicely presented.
The average (bistro) prices are;
- Entrees – $14
- Mains – $28 (steaks from 34)
- Dessert – $12 (yes its sticky date)
- Mac n Cheese Croquettes, truffle aioli. $12. 5 big squares arrive with a standard aioli, some green garnish and are hot and tasty. The coating was a little too thick for me, plenty of MnC, but if you are one out and having a beer, these sit as well with any other pub entree.
- Beef Chevaps, pita bread, red onion, tomato relish, sour cream. 5/$16. Not bad at all. Skinless tasty sausages, (needed a touch more spice to elevate), are generously presented with all the trimmings, plenty of pita (normally you are about 2 pieces short), and were easy, enjoyable eating.
Whenever you come up with/find out something that causes you to reflect… ‘I haven’t seen that before’, someone will trump you by countering…’Nah, that happened in blah blah blah’. (Normally it is some Crashing Cricket Bore who says that your moment happened ‘In the Fourth test, Trent Bridge 1952’. You shrink.
So reluctantly, I’ll assert that the King Hotel is doing something never done before in Melbourne pub-life on a regular basis and that it Foreign Language Learning Classes. Basically rock up here on Linguas night, practice a new language, (check with pub), meet new people etc. Great idea.
That is a point of difference.
As for the other days it trades, the King does a fine, solid job with hospitality hitting all the right notes in a part of town that tends to be more quiet in the after dark hours.
Everything is working well here, especially if your thing is Live sport from here and abroad.