Pub Of The Week: Tony Leonard visits All Nations Hotel in Richmond
PUB: All Nations Hotel
WHERE? 64 Lennox St., Richmond
PHONE: 9428 1564
WHEN? 10 November 2017
This is my fourth review. The first was back in 1996, and it has been DeBortoli Pub of the Year.
The All Nations is one of the most endearing and enduring (save for a short closure 3 years ago) Melbourne pubs that hit a nerve over 2 decades ago with a left of centre approach to do a higher level of food and drink at your local and to this day holds a place of affection.
The pub was a trailblazer in the backblocks of Richmond that drew – like a racecourse – princes and paupers alike.
Old brick, smallish front bar, neat old world dining room to the side, some shady (light not character) snugs and a small beer garden, (now with retractable roof).
So why so special? My guess can only be that those who have run it have been experienced operators – now it’s Bob O’Kane – that understand it’s consistency of offer, providing value, making sure you are welcome that are the non negotiables of running an owner/operator pub.
No TAB/No Pokies. The food and drink is easy and comfortable. Table Service, Bread/Butter, Water brought as a matter of course. The pub is a happy place (Tiger fans can surely attest to that). Even little things such as having a pub ‘countery’ (eating at the bar is cool) before the footy, them providing a bus to the G and back, and then hop in the car and head home.
All day trading from 11am? Yep.
With the number of pubs – think the Great Western in King st. – ceasing trading and going to development this year – a pub like the All Nations is to be treasured.
The All Nats is a graduate with First Class Honours of the University of Pub Grub.
Generous starters made for sharing e.g., Fish Croquettes, BBQ Pork ribs, then onto old fashioned big serve pub favs like Snags, Lamb cutlets, Beer battered F&C, that are tweaked sufficiently to keep them interesting and modern, the menu offers options aplenty that are all ages appealing. Midweek specials – 350g Rump, and Chips for $15, ditto Parma and Pot offer $10 plus savings.
Entrees $15, Mains $28, Desserts not really.
Crumbed button mushrooms with hummus 14. Good. Big bowl arrives, bite sized, hot, well coated, just a simple and pleasant start, Hummus works in well.
300 gram Porterhouse Steak Grass fed. Served with green beans, potato gratin & choice of mushroom sauce, pepper sauce, red wine jus or garlic butter. $ 34.9. Very Good. Thick cut, Fully plated, cooked perfectly MR with char and pink, great jus, lovely beans, a great pub steak,
Bangers & Mash – pork & fennel sausages with mash, peas & onion gravy – $23.9. Good. 2 colossal tubes, (sourced from the excellent Frasers Butchery in Strathmore), great balance of flavours, ripper mash, peas, this pub classic lives with you well into the early hours of the next day serendipitously.
Heavily Carlton loaded for the beer but, as you would expect is delivered perfectly in all range of receptacles. One of the best in Melbourne, year in/out. Wine list is small, solid brands, Paulettes Riesling ($38/bottle) is under the median price for wine in pubs. Glasses from $7.5, a sensible approach.
SERVICE AND STYLE
Happy, attentive and friendly with staff instructed to make sure everything is being attended to your satisfaction. If this was the standard across the board (someone will always find fault) everywhere, then the pub going public would be satisfied.
The debt of gratitude to the new wave of inner-urban pub operators to the vision of the All Nations back then cannot be underestimated and, without overdoing it, broke the nexus of pubs’ perceived only role of being somewhere to fill up on the gas and eat poorly.
After all of this time, the All Nations sits comfortably amongst the best, most consistent, in my time of talking about pubs from 1996.
On that list (i know I’ve missed a few) place the Emerald, Railway Club, O’Connell’s, Lincoln, with pubs run by Pat Reardon, (Riser, Richmond), Jose D’Olivera, (Bouzy Richmond/North Melbourne H) Peter Geimza, (Riser St Melb), Mick Bourke (Malvern) to name a couple of owner/operators.
At the sake of repetition, The All Nations Richmond is a Hall of Fame, Melbourne Pub treasure.