Pub Of The Week: Tony Leonard reviews the Swiss Mountain Hotel
Swiss Mountain Hotel
Where? 3454 Midland Hwy, Blampied.
When? June 19, 2020.
The Swiss Mountain Hotel (and Food Store) is genuinely one of a kind in Victoria’s pub ecosystem in 2020. Simply put, it doesn’t look like any others encountered, and ranks with the great Radio Springs in Lyonsville as having a different (good) look.
Appearing from nowhere on the Midland Hwy, located in Blampied some 10kms SW of Daylesford (think Ballarat side), the first thing that strikes you is the sprawling all timber exterior. Think a weatherboard version of Southfork Ranch from the TV show Dallas that serves beer and food.
The front has some delightful potted flowers accompanying a wide sheltered verandah littered with tables and chairs. You turn an old chrome handle on an old wooden door to enter. Yep.
Inside looks like one of those themed outback restaurants you may encounter at a Gold Coast/ Hinterland park (something like Spirit of True Blue Australia World or Outback Horseman Land), expecting to hear bush poetry recited the P.A.
But it doesn’t have the deliberate twee and bric a brac in the setting it up: The Bar is semi – circular serviced by engaging staff, the chalkboard specials have an edge in style and presentation and with an understated comfort, the SMHAFS presents really well. Old world, very neat.
A modern dining/function room, a beer garden are the new additions to the pub (to the rear), and while nearby Daylesford oozes in chic, the pub offers a courtesy bus from there and surrounding districts.
A most pleasant time spent at the Swiss Mountain, some 80-90 minutes from town.
Limited choice on food and drink offerings, with a nice range of daily specials rounding it out. 5 standard entrees, including Popcorn chicken, spicy aioli, lime (18), or a grazing plate, (29), with all smallgoods, cheeses, olives etc., sourced from the region.
Pub classics e.g., Beer battered shark, fully plated, is $29, with the Chicken Parma, again fully plated is priced similarly. The top priced was Lamb Rump, mash, heirloom tomato, chimichurri sauce, fennel salad at $37.
Note: The pub is operating a limited dine in/take away menu while current restrictions are in place. 20 people max., 6 per table max. These numbers apply until 22 June, when this pub, (and others in Victoria) can increase to 50 people per area (meeting the guidelines). The pub is doing an excellent job with its social platforms keeping people informed. Any changes to the pub’s offer will be posted.
- Cauliflower, cheese, leek croquettes, tomato relish. $17/3. Big size croquettes, priced to the mark, good taste, although the leek was barely noticeable.
- King George Whiting, kipflers, peppers, chilli, capers, cherry tomatoes, olives, salsa verde, $34. Proper whiting, very good mix of flavours to support, good pub fish dish.
- 300g Porterhouse, $37, w/fried chats, beans, roasted mushrooms ($3 extra) pepper sauce. Cooked as offered, solid piece of steak, excellent Mushrooms.
The Swiss Mountain is a joy and Victorian treasure operating since 1865, and while close enough to Daylesford, is still located in a small hamlet.
The prices are certainly up there, but with the quality of produce and the location itself, the Swiss Mountain is a pub to support. (The surrounds are more gently undulating than mountainous).
If nothing else, for those who like to visit obscure pubs in Victoria, then tick this one from the bucket list: it is well worth the trip and your bragging rights.