Pub Of The Week: Tony Leonard reviews the Mt Erica Hotel
Mt. Erica Hotel
420 High Street, Prahran
June 16, 2018
Third Review. (last circa 2011)
A brilliant re-imagining of this prominent eastern suburbs pub from a group of that is modern Melbourne pub royalty, the Mt Erica is back from the literal dead to be trading as well as ever.
To me, it has always screamed potential potential, but the sheer size has been hard to manage the intimate feel of a pub properly.
Not so now, with a seamless transition from the bar -all new with bentwood stools, big windows, old style cork floors, tartan upholstery, wood panelling – through to a large and elegant dining room replete with fireplace, more wood panelling and open kitchen.
Simply put, this is a place to wine and dine in comfort. Think an old style club and you got an idea. No TAB/No Pokies.
The kitchen has been set up Sean Donovan who enjoys the reputation of the go-to man for doing steak in pubs. (old timers will recall “Nello” who plied his degree in Steakology around Port Melbourne for years. Ditto Gary Owen at the Railway). He also knows plenty about Oysters too.
The food menu is small and has some stonkingly good bargains on it, the wine list is interesting, extensive (but certainly priced to the mark) and in a relative short space of time, the Mt Erica is a pub punters favourite.
Plenty of good times to be had here.
Great counter meals – lunch Monday to Friday is $15 for some great bargains -number 6 or so and includes a house made and large chicken parma with buffalo mozzarella and prosciutto (23) or Fettucine, mushrooms, goats curd and herbs (20). Remember these are cooked from scratch and at lunch is $15.
Oysters are $4/ea., and freshly shucked with shallot vinegar. But each night at happy hour (4-6) half a dozen of these and a glass of white is $15. Blue Cheese/leek tart, (13), Pork Terrine, toast/pickles (14) are a couple of starters but in the dining room, all manner of steak, with outstanding home made chips, or a rotisserie lamb or chicken, both with brilliant support casts (this worked a treat back at the Wayside), makes the menu so enticing. Yes, there is a fresh fillet of fish simply done with capers and lemon.
Entrees/Shares 14, Mains 28, Desserts 12.
TRIED: Lunch specials
Sausage Rolls. 6 for $16. Very Good. Fast becoming the most added pub item in 2018. These were fantastic. Not only large, not only beautifully minced, but had that deceptive bang of chilli heat to top them off. Best example of this so far in 2018,
Spicy italian sausages, radicchio, polenta, balsamic. $15. (norm 23). Good. Coarse as they should be, 2 tasty, thick sausages come with a creamy polenta and subtle drizzle of balsamic tops them off. Neat,
Minute steak, fried egg, chips. $15. Very Good. Around 200g of smokey, rich porterhouse, this is why Donovan has a reputation and at the price is a steal. (Chips were stock standard and not the gun ones but at that price there’s no complaints).
Carlton and United is the main, ($5/pot//10/pint), Stomping Ground, balter, Moon Dog are some of the list of extensive crafts. Happy to serve in a 200ml glass the CD and tasted fine although the glass didn’t hold the beer as long as it should. Minor in this case but needs to be pointed out.
The wine list had only a few choices by the glass and the start price is $12. While the list is extensive the average price is $55/bottle which is a little overs by pub standard. Most australian regions with some imports covered here.
SERVICE AND STYLE
The service was sharp and engaging from a primarily young crew. Happy to see you and happy to explain the different beers – with a little taster if you are unsure. For a Thursday in prahran, the pub was doing something right evidenced by the crew inside, which had a very wide demographic.
Smart designers have the knack of making the intimate from the vast and here at the Erica, they have achieved this. It is modern, without being too pretty and the bar is a beauty (although I’m not such a fan of the bolted down bar stool).
This is an all occasions pub that should satisfy the most fastidious pub goer as nods to the past are retained while banging out some sharper edge pub grub at some fantastic prices during certain times of the day.
Female friendly, mum and dad comfortable, the Erica does it easily without the need for gimmickry.
And if you want to see one of Melbourne’s most popular meal deals, go here on a Tuesday night for Steak (300g porter, proper chips and pepper sauce) for $18. The numbers in there will astonish.