Pub Of The Week: Tony Leonard reviews the Morning Star Hotel, Williamstown
Morning Star Hotel
3 Electra Street, Williamstown.
When? October 4, 2019.
The Morning Star is a long established, much loved fixture of Williamstown, whose number of pubs in the not too distant past, qualified for the exaggerated moniker …’one on every corner’.
Like its nearby and similarly looking Staggs Head, this pub off the main drag has had its ups and downs with a cessation of trading a while ago, but new people have moved in and slowly put their fingerprints on the pub.
For sure a cleanup, but the charm of the old bar, lovely high ceiling with cornices and white, white walls, fireplace in the dining room looks fabulous, and the beer garden remains one of the best in the area. The tiled exterior, half height brown with faded white paint still has a killer charm.
It generates its own vibe without the need for a TAB or Pokies, plus the wonderful wide footpath and leafy street allows the pub that extra room to run an event without intruding on the neighbours.
The front bar is double sided, with a wooden arch allowing service to both areas. Menus, both food and wine, give what you may expect from a pub like this.
Good luck to the new owners and may this old beauty trade uninterrupted for years to come.
The food is classic pub grub, very well priced with a good sized main in the mid 20s. Lamb shank, full whack is 26, salt and pepper calamari, c&s, is $24. I love that a full plated 250g Scotch Fillet is $29.
Tried was (from the specials);
- Jalapeño and cheddar croquettes. $10. While the heat from the jalapeño was there, the croquettes needed a bit longer, coming out room temp without the cheese starting to ooze. A fraction longer and they go from OK to really good.
- Beef Lasagne. $22. Massive multi layered lasagne, stack of meat, but again the bechamel needed a bit longer to work with the rest of the dish. Nearly,
- Chicken and Mushroom Pie. Mash, Veg, $22. Big serve, again, and the flavours were fine. It was done in a ramekin with a pastry top. C,mon, you are an old pub in Willi, how about a fully encased pie??! Good eating.
Mix of craft and commercial, well presented, and even though Willi moves with the times, woe betide if Carlton D isn’t on tap. It was, and it was good. Good choice to suit all palates.
Really liked the variety in the wine list, which was extensive including Chockstone Pinot, Serengale Chard, and Geoff Merrill Merlot. Per glass price – $10, is on the mark; low $50s per bottle but they have chosen their list well.
Busy night, two young staff were charming and helpful, apologetic for something that had just sold out and with table service provided, made for a nice experience.
Great dining room, and the atmosphere/vibe was assisted by a soundtrack that was modern, selective, and played at the exact levels that allowed conversation. 8/10.
If you are looking for a definitive landmark, this pub has,( at least in the Melbourne metro area), a horse trough out the front, Like tin cow outside the Cowarr Hotel in Gippsland, the horse trough is a curio that is worth taking a selfie with; people won’t believe you without the proof.
This was very much a case of nearly right at the Morning Star, with 30 seconds to a minute extra on the dishes going from OK to good pub grub. The great front bar, wonderful old dining room compensates for this slight misstep.
The pub itself is old grungy Williamstown glorious, and its heart is in the right place. As more of us seek out old treasures, this pub is a perfect place to remind yourself of the good ol’ days, whenever that was in your life.
New owners will have it firing in another year. It is impossible to dislike. Please, please, establish your formal website – this is a pub with a great story to tell.