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Pub Of The Week: Tony Leonard reviews the Mona Castle Hotel, Seddon

pub of the week
Article image for Pub Of The Week: Tony Leonard reviews the Mona Castle Hotel, Seddon

Mona Castle Hotel

45-53 Austin Street, Seddon.
9687 2101

When? June 10, 2022.


The reopening and rejuvenation of the Mona Castle Hotel is something to celebrate for all pub-goers, especially in the western suburbs.

Around two years ago, COVID claimed this pub (among many others), with the lessee unable to continue trading due to the shutdown, along with an inability to renegotiate new terms during those tough economic times. Doors shut, seemingly forever.

However, very fine pub operators in the West (Railway, Yarraville, Ascot Vale Moonee Ponds), with the support of some Footscray footballers took the punt, and the Mona has reopened.

A wonderful reno has taken place and while much of the Bulldog bric a brac that provided the Mona’s backdrop is gone, the pub’s spirit remains firmly intact. Indeed a magnificent B&W photo  of Mervyn Gregory Hughes and Shane Keith Warne hangs proudly over the entrance.

Given its slightly off the beat location in Austin St (beautiful too) much is packed in. The front bar is new, timber floorboards with bar tables around the perimeter is your go to. Stand around, chat, relax.

There are three dining areas; Small triangular to the left with views of the City; the second with its two tone cream/caramel walls and well spaced tables with some banquette seating, and a third, rather discreet space to allow for a quasi private/family function. Quaint beer garden to the rear.

Food is modern pub grub, fairly priced and well planned.  The same is said for the wine list which is not a straight up and down tick the box and deliver list.  But the lifeblood of any local is the weekly specials. Steak night, Wednesdays, 250g full whack Porter is $20. 4-6pm, Happy hour weeknights with $4 pots (beer is good) another.

Can’t say fairer than that Tel. Back and Firing.  The return of the Mona is wonderful.


The food menu is compact, with 8 entrees, 10 mains, and a couple of deserts (Anyone for a Frog in a pond?).

The Mona, like the Ascot Vale, has two signature dishes in this section. Their version of the Sth Melbourne market dimmies, is a fine replica (3/$12), with an absolutely ripper Homemade Sausage roll,  pubs own tomato sauce ($14). Organic Lamb Koftas, Cauliflower tacos w/tomato, salsa, chilli, coriander are a couple more fine starters.

Mains are fairly priced and generous, from Crumbed Mushroom burger, w/avo, aioli, lettuce, onion, chips (20), to a 3-4 person feast of family pie (Chicken was the offer last week), mash, mushy peas, gray @$60 (or around $15 pp). Meat is sourced from the Organic offerings of Hagens Butchers in Bentleigh and fine it is too.

Carlton Draught with some crafts (Bodriggy, Young Henry’s) are the tap offerings and very well presented with red and white wines having 10 of each at $11pg//55/btle. Motley Cru Pinot G ($10pg) and Alkoomi Shiraz ($13pg) were selected. Good.

The average (bistro) prices are;

  • Entrees – $16
  • Mains – $27
  • Dessert – $11

Tried was;

  • Prawn, Mac n Cheese Croquettes (4/$16).  All flavours worked well and were so fresh but it was the Bacon Chilli Jam on top was a winner.
  • Bangers n Mash. $29. Most enjoyable organic sausages, (3), tightly packed, very good mash, gravy was a little thinner than your normal treacle-like pub sauce, but still enjoyable.
  • Seafood Spaghetti. $29. (Double serve for 2 people $55). While the seafood was limited to half lobster tail and prawns, the dish was plentiful and again the pool of white wine, olive and chilli didn’t overpower the lovely seafood. Very good main.


Welcome back Mona. In very safe hands with an offer that is appealing and modern, in a short space of time it has won the hearts and minds of new chums and loyal old customers who simply loved this local in the back streets.

Everyone wants their pub to have a well worn feel, and in time this will be the case here. But its newness doesn’t distract. Old regulars will find their spots and renew conversations with friends that they enjoyed ad nauseam when under previous stewardships.

And again my pet hate of old reviews rears its ugly head. The Mona is is under new ownership, been closed for two years and still the first reviews are all negative. I urge the industry to take to task (maybe run a case for defamation if they are not removed?) these third party sites and have inappropriate out of date commentary removed.

The Mona Castle has always been a very good, happy pub to go to, no matter who was in charge. It remains that way in June 2022.

SCORE: 14.5/20

pub of the week