Pub Of The Week: Tony Leonard reviews the Panton Hill Hotel
Panton Hill Hotel
Where? 633 Kangaroo Ground / St Andrews Road, Panton Hill.
When? April 23, 2021.
Arriving at this week’s pub – Panton Hill – it looks like many from the outside that you have seen in a semi rural /outer urban setting before. Long, rectangular, timber facade with footpath out the front; acres of space at the rear.
But the surprise awaits inside. On entering, the main bar is all polished deep brown timbers – sort of a library or legal chambers that does food and drink – along with beautiful brickwork and prints of a bygone era when the expression ‘bona fide traveller ‘ existed. Maybe seats 80 plus and is spacious.
To the right, a small ante room with a bar that can house say 30, and it has the most discrete TAB in Victoria. No Pokies. A split level/ 2 tiered decking dominates to the rear where you can enjoy the music most weekends or gaze at the mountain ranges heading back to Kinglake whilst having a cool drink.
The Panton Hill has everything bang on at the moment. Happy obliging staff, table service with a menu of food and drink to entice, means the drive from town (perfect distance of 50 minutes-1hr) melts away instantly.
Down to business. The menu offers a range of interesting and different and even on a busy Thursday lunch recently, the pub was humming but the service is so well structured that the wait for meals didn’t exist. Maybe a fraction more patience on the weekend as the pub has really gathered momentum over the past 4 months.
On the Panton Hill Hotel website, the pub describes itself as charming: Such a perfect descriptor.
There’s a number of highlights from this interesting menu. It is a fine example of pub grub with nice touches and generously served.
Rarely seen as entree, there’s Slow cooked salmon with pea puree, pickles and herb oil (15), or Baked Goats cheese, roasted nuts, fruit salsa (12). Pasta/Risotto is kept to a minimum but Roasted medley of mushrooms, black truffle risotto at $22 is an excellent bang for the buck. For sure you can grab a Parma/Burger/Fish of the Day meal, or look on with envy to those who prefer a pub classic to you.
The beer adheres to a CUB line of product with some craft. Can confirm that a pot of CD (5.5) is well presented. The wine list offers familiar brands with a few locals. If you like Sangiovese, try the Buttermans Track (12pg), sourced from nearby St Andrews – it is a treat.
The average prices are;
- Entrees – $14 (antipasto/salumi plates $16-30)
- Mains – $28 (fully plated)
- Dessert – $12
- 3/$13.Beef ragu arancini balls, served with napoletana sauce, parmesan topped. Fresh, all flavours pack a punch, the Arancini is the go to on most pub menus in Melbourne. Done well, they make for a great start; here no exception.
- Chicken meatballs. $12. Good sized plate of Italian style chicken meatballs, parsnip puree, egg sauce,crispy kale. Moorish, easy eating, right seasoning through the chicken, again a good starter.
- Duck Nest $28. Confit duck breast sitting on roasted vegetables topped with cherry jus and fried leeks. Enhanced by roasted eggplant and crunchy leeks, this is a piece of moist, MR Duck, fat rendered and plentiful. V Good dish at a fair price.
There is a justifiable buzz about this small-ish pub. It fills the song titled criteria of ‘Good country pub suitable for a Sunday drive close enough to Town’ which rivals Mental as Anything’s ‘Possible theme for a future TV Drama series” in length!.
And it goes like this;
- The pub does sources locally and cooks everything from kitchen
- It has an interesting inventive menu for food and drink
- Table service for the diners
- Music on the split level decking on Sundays
- The decor is warm and inviting
- THEY REALLY LIKE YOU.
Treat yourself – go out there and support this beauty: The Panton Hill Hotel.