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Pub Of The Week: Tony Leonard reviews the Red Hill Hotel, Chewton

Red Hill Hotel

163 Main Road, Chewton
5416 1133

When? February 21, 2020

www.redhillhotel.com.au

VENUE:

About 6kms from Castlemaine (take Elphinstone turn off on the Calder) is the quaint hamlet of Chewton, around 80 minutes out of town with one of the nicest pubs in regional Victoria, the Red Hill Hotel.

All credit to the new young operators taking over a pub that was dormant for a year in a township that you would normally pass you reach your destination of Castlemaine.

Head to the Red Hill instead. The pub reflects its past with prints and paintings in an old brick boozer; but the new in food and drink, well thought out and different, with a tremendous beer garden hosting its entertainment.

The elevated dining area (about 10 steps raised from the bar) is comfortable and sufficiently spacious, and in spite of the meals being brought from downstairs (if there’s ever a pub version of Australian Spartan/Ninja back on the team from here), service never flags and is unfailingly pleasant.

Reason: Skin in the game. No machines or horses to support the bottom line.

And there is some fun in the small menu, which along with its beer and wine, supports local producers as much as it can.

Ever had a Haggis Sausage Roll? $8. A Donug? $12. It looks like a donut, but is tightly packed savoury seasoned chicken resembling the same look. Delete Icing. Insert Cheesy Dijon Bechamel. Delete 100s and 1000s for sprinkles. Insert Chilli Flakes.  It works (but very rich!!).

And the highlight? Glasgow Salad $8. Never seen it. On second glance it is a bowl of chips.

Smart food, good beer and wine, good staff. The Red Hill is a beauty.

FOOD/DRINK:

Entrees offer different. Aside from the above, Cauliflower Pakoras, yoghurt, lemon, ($8), or its Smoked Trout Rillettes, cornichons, brioche, $16.

Mains range from $27-36, Mushroom And Noodle broth, silken tofu black bean dressing to Slow Roasted Lamb, Hariissa labne, Herbed Lentil Salad $36.

Beer offered on tap is made locally, and an excellent pot of Old Slang Fresh as a daisy $6.5 was poured. Glassware Excellent. Holgate, Harcourt Breweries are some locals that are on pour. No CD on tap but can.  $6.5 for a tin is good shopping.

Wine too, from nearby areas and served at $10pg//$45/bottle.  Man is not a Camel Chardonnay  from Sunbury, Coliban Valley Riesling from Heathcote again shows that if pubs want to move away from the standard, then they can with confidence.

The average prices are;

  • Entrees – $14
  • Mains – $30
  • Dessert – $16

Tried was;

  • The Donug. Described above. Don’t know why but it works. Definite share however.
  • Chicken Schnitzel, Salsa verde, summer slaw, pecorino. $30. I’m really not one for this, but it matched the pub’s enthusiasm. Easily feeds two, the chicken is marinated for 4 days, and is o moist. Very Good.
  • Fish of the day. $36. Snapper, skin crisp, teamed with fresh tomato curry, pickles, large rice crisp. All elements were great, but the tick goes to the rice crisp that genuinely was, when normally it’s not.

SUMMARY:

Much success so far to the team at the Red Hill as from the ashes have turned this into an excellent pub and may it so continue. The right attitude of staff will take you some distance.

The support of locals, and by extension the pub’s support of local suppliers, have had such a positive effect and while the pub trades Wed-Sun, a Friday lunch has been added to Saturday and Sunday.

Just a small word to this and other pubs. Please keep updating your websites and give it the love that is afforded to Facebook and Twitter. It is still the main window to your business at a macro level.

Looking for a pub that’s the perfect drive (around 90 minutes from town) for a weekend outing? The Red Hill in Chewton comes recommended.

SCORE: 14.5/20

NOTE: The Red Hill was recommended to me by Peter McLeod, a modern day trailblazer in the way pubs did its food, starting off around 1993 at the brilliant All Nations, then the Spencer, Mona Castle, Flinders and finishing up in Bendigo. 

Those in the industry love your work as did the many patrons on the way that you and Jenelle served. Thoughts with you Peter as you address your latest health battle.

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