Pub Of The Week: Tony Leonard reviews The Parkville / Naughtons Hotel
43 Royal Parade, Parkville.
When? November 6, 2020.
The Parkville / Naughtons Hotel has established itself as one of the best pubs in the inner suburbs (including the CBD) of Melbourne.
In spite of restricted numbers (up until 9/11/20), the pub makes use of its very large footpath to accommodate more patrons and with the trams whizzing by on their way North, it is easy to settle in for a long stay.
(Word of warning – you are very much exposed on chilly, windy days so prepare for that possibility).
Inside is gorgeous and while much has been spent over the years, the charm of this pub shines. Old world feel, not stuffy, the pub has a number of rooms with accommodation available (11 rooms) for those planning a visit to Melbourne.
Food and drink has a real edge to it, with such an appeal to all tastes: you want a great pub burger, or splash out on a big share from the Josper Oven, you will find it.
The Parkville / Naughtons has settled back beautifully under the new rules with the attention to those ‘outside’ excellent.
The standards set when it re-opened years ago, thanks to the work of those involved at the Albion (Port Melbourne) and the Kent in Carlton shines through and is now, I think, one of the go-to pubs in Melbourne.
The menu changes often, so while there is commonality in what is displayed on the website to that of the day, be prepared for something different each day.
It is very good, higher level pub grub, ranging from the ‘humble’ Beef Burger, pickled onion, bacon, cheese, chips aioli ($22) to Rock Flathead, broccoli, labneh, macadamia salad (38). 4 entrees, 8-10 mains with some specials make up a sharp menu. Trading long from Tues-Saturday, there’s a little special most nights.
Beer has a mix of Commercial (Pot of CD – $6) to popular crafts such as Wolf of the Willows, Hop Nation. Wine falls mostly within the mean of $11pg//$55/btle. Carlton Draught was fine, as was the never miss RieslingFreak no. 4 from Eden. The makers specialise in this grape and it shows.
Desserts: not really
- Milawa Chicken Croquettes (2/$15). Large, packed with the acclaimed Milawa free range chicken, topped with fermented chilli. Great start.
- 200G Porterhouse, MR, Chips baked onion, jus. $28. Sourced from the highly regarded Cherry Tree Organics in Gippsland, the steak was rich in flavour with a knockout jus. This made for a great meal, and to be fair, so full was the flavour that you didn’t need a bigger piece.
- Pork Cutlet, Peach, white radish remoulade, rosemary and anise butter. $38. Superb pork from Barongarook, (the Otways is one of Australia’s great food producers) all supported with something different to your standard pub pork meal, summed up what this pub is about when it comes to pub grub.
Like the Exchange from last week, this review is as much about how the pub is adapting to the new rules as it is pre-COVID. For the former they are bang on, while the pub’s reputation as doing hospitality at a higher level is intact.
(Many thanks to the alert staff who allowed us in – when a spot became legally available. It would have been hypothermia, not COVID, that loomed large as the weather turned bitter on Oaks day).
Since re-opening around a decade ago and quietly shedding its “Uni Pub” tag, Naughtons has not looked back. It remains one of Melbourne’s best.
The Parkville Hotel, aka Naughtons, has hit the ground running again. Suggest if you are looking for a get together/function, just out of town, then this pub should be high on your list.