Pub of the Week: Tony Leonard reviews the Terminus in Fitzroy North
The Terminus Hotel
492 Queens Parade, Fitzroy North
When? 9 November 2018
Second review (last 2009 – when it was named DeBortoli Pub of the Year).
End of Queens parade, before you enter High street, nestled away with the rail line providing cover the Terminus stands, beautiful brick/bluestone that is big and wonderful.
Everything you may have read about this pub is spot on. Multi awarded by daring to be different and maintaining standards, this pub is one of Melbourne’s must go-tos.
Genuine local whose appeal is broad. Front bar for the old experience but embracing new beer chums to the point of being a champion of craft.
If you want pub dining with a different take on food then you will be satisfied here: the road more travelled is catered for as well.
The expansive bluestone dining room at the rear is as pretty as any in Melbourne. but never deviating from the essence of a pub. A quaint beer garden for one catching some rays or upstairs for the footy rounds this one out. Absolutley no pokies/no TAB.
The Terminus is a great pub and sets itself to a high level. One of this town’s best.
Starters are diverse to the regimented menus, but priced similarly which is a ripper. Kingfish sashimi with blood orange vinaigrette, fresh fennel, herbs & chilli ($16.9) or Crispy cauliflower with hummus, hazelnut dukkha, herb oil, chilli & coriander ($14.5). Nary a trio of dips in sight!
I haven’t seen on a menu a dish of steamed asparagus, 63-degree poached egg, frisee and garlic crumb in talking about Melbourne pubs for nearly 25 years. Yes, there are burgers and parmas.
Mains can go from a proper and brilliant pub pie (Beef, bacon, gruyere), asparagus at 27.9, fully plated, to Pan-fried duck breast (32.9) with salt baked beetroots, walnuts, goats cheese panna cotta, fresh horseradish & red wine lentil jus. Look at what your locals doing for around $30, and compare and contrast.
This is modern pub food, done so wonderfully well.
Entrees: $15. Mains $30. Desserts: $13.
Crispy fried barramundi wings with Korean black dragon sauce. 14.9/4 pcs. Very Good. Chunky pieces from the top of the fish, bones to be negotiated (but easy) with a rich sauce with real depth, this species – Barramundi – has never been better presented in pubs. The Terminus’ take is one of the best.
Pork bao (2) with apple slaw, red dragon sauce, chilli & coriander. 10.9/2 pcs. Excellent. One of the entrees of the year. Warm soft bun, kicking sauce, great filling. More, please!
Eye Fillet, 200g, (OConnor), house chips, salad. $37.9 If only. For the sake of a minute. The gear from O’Connor in Gippsland is world class. The order was rare, it came closer to medium with only minor traces of blush. The steak was great if you like it like that; the person ordering doesn’t. For sure it was knocked over, but this is a pub that strives (and succeeds) to a higher level but this dish missed.
No commercial, but a range of craft so well served. Stone and Wood (again), Fixation, Two Birds, Moon Dog (Old Mate APA) are becoming so commonplace that I imagine those champions of the “little guy” may even go more local/suburban for that point of difference. Moon Dog, $6/pot, served the way beer in a pub should be.
From an extensive and diverse wine list (Average 11/55). Fowles Stone Dwellers Riesling and Barfold Estate CabSav, both 11pg were the preferred.
SERVICE AND STYLE:
In keeping with the pub’s high standards, the service didn’t falter. Personable, engaging. Brought to the table by staff that wanted to be there and it showed.
The Terminus is Melbourne pub royalty in my opinion.
Everything from the moment you walk in confirms your choice of leisure spend is not misplaced. The wonderful front bar, brilliant bluestone back room for dining. The lot.
The error made with the main would normally pass without comment. But this time, it must be highlighted because of the standards they set.
In trying to pinpoint when Melbourne pubs became so envied because of the lift in standards, around 1992/93 is a reasonable starting point. Maybe the All Nations the granddaddy of them all, if not it’s in the first fleet.
Be assured the Terminus, over the past decade and then some, sits comfortably with the best since then.
Photo: The Terminus website