Pub Of The Week: Tony Leonard reviews the Marong Family Hotel
Marong Family Hotel
26 High St., Marong
Final pub of the year for 2019 and a good way to finish.
The Marong Family Hotel, around 15kms out of Bendigo on road to Mildura/Swan Hill (take Old Calder if coming from Melbourne) is pleasing on the eye and the grey/brick exterior welcomes you.
Inside the pub, lovely exposed brick everywhere there is a two sided bar, neatly set out covering front and also back of bar dining area, two larger rooms, tables set out with butchers paper and very comfy spaced seating, and a beer garden/patio/large dining area all in one area at the rear.
Best of all, the pub has a clear connection to the community, be it sport or essential services. Last Sunday night, the pub was humming along nicely.
The food is good pub grub, with a heavy emphasis on Lamb, and big plates follow. Wine list supports growers from the region and is fairly priced. Good package, and credit to the MFH they keep their website up to date with pricing, menus and local activities.
The Marong Family Hotel is clearly beloved by the operators and staff and for such a large area is very clean throughout.
Don’t need Roget’s thesaurus for this one: Good pub is the apt descriptor.
Choose the bar, dining room or beer garden, peruse the menu: the choice is plentiful. Starters include Thai Fish cakes (15.5), Pork Belly Bites (16) and Quinoa/Chick=ea Balls (18.5) A range of pasta mains, – Linguine Marinara (25), Risotto of lamb, Goats Cheese, Beetroot (26.5) or if it’s a pizza, then choose from a selection of around $19. Pub classics are there but they do a staggering (from the mains only) 9 dishes.
- Roast Lamb, veg, $21.50. Sunday roast, 4-5 big slices underneath a heavy (tasty) gravy, veg. Fair price and filling, mint jelly for the sweet kick,
- Mustard crusted lamb rack. $30. 4 points, smashed rosemaries, spinach, blackened tomato, honey mustard drizzle. Very Good, and the size given the price of Lamb (thanks Kekka) made this a bargain.
- Pork Belly, rocket, goats cheese, caramelised onion. $26.50. Good and bad. No arguing the generosity of serve, but the crackle had become leathery (maybe a spin too many in oven/micro) that made it in edible. Shame really, the rest was fine if not a little too much rocket.
Smallish selection, but a cold pot of Carlton D was well presented. All good. Ditto the cider.
Wine list supports locals like Mt. Langi Ghiran, and the pub has Connor Park as its first pour around $30/bottle. That is a very, very fair price to pay.
Popular tunes, right levels played through the pub. Didn’t intrude. 8/10.
The feel of the pub, more than ever, is reflected in the attitude of staff. Sunday night, hot day, 7pm, the team working the tables could not be any more helpful.
Not so much here, but officially had a drink in the middle of nowhere. The Four Posts hotel, between Kerang and Serpentine, appears from nowhere in a dusty paddock, just off the main highway. For curiosity alone, have one there. It is like no other place I’ve ever been to.
The Marong Family winds the year up. A good solid citizen whose offer is perfect for a quick one on the way through to the North West, or in the Greater Bendigo area with your family.
Every effort made to please, all moving parts working well, the current owners have turned (after 13 years) this pub into a real community focal point.
And surely that’s the point of any pub.