Scorcher reviews: Footscray’s Victoria Hotel
43 Victoria St, Footscray
Click PLAY below to hear Scorcher’s review on 3AW Breakfast
Not much tops a good old suburban Aussie pub.
It’s like finding a $20 note in your jacket, you become instantly joyful and are overcome by an immediate urge to spend it.
Likewise, when I found out that Hart’s pub in Footscray was being tarted up by the man behind the excellent Builders Arms in Fitzroy and converted into the Victoria Hotel, I was keen to get there quick snap.
Part old-fashioned pub, part trendy, inner-city boozer; Victoria Hotel is a family-friendly watering hole that has the feel of the ale houses we all grew up loving.
It’s kind of like if you were to see Barnaby Joyce drinking a cocktail at the Ritz – a dinky-di pub in the big smoke.
That contrast carries over to the menu too. There are plenty of pub classics to satisfy the traditionalist, as well as some more modern dishes to tempt you into trying something a little different.
I was paralysed by choice when poring over the list of starters. They all looked so ruddy marvellous.
Things like black pudding and pork scotch egg, smoked ham hock terrine, steamed mussels in apple cider with pancetta and a gorgeous heirloom tomato salad.
With so many good options, repeat visits are a must.
We shared the onion bhaji-style spring vegetable fritters, which were like spindly, spicy little spiders. The cooling cucumber and mint yoghurt was a placating balm to calm these bad boys down. The fritters were a winner. Dish of the day for me.
We similarly enjoyed the steak tartare with bulldog sauce and smoked chipotle, a dish not often found on a pub menu. The only way you would have received steak tartare in pubs of yesteryear is if you had ordered the porterhouse and the chef had an off night. We devoured this – eaten with endive leaves – in all its raw gloriousness.
My choice of main seriously put my man’s licence in jeopardy. What does a meat-loving boy choose to eat when there’s chicken parma, bangers and mash, Barnsley lamb chop, duck leg confit and beer battered blue grenadier on the menu?
Why, the whole roasted tandoori spiced cauliflower with lentils and mango chutney of course! And I’m glad I did. It was super tasty and satisfying, the cauliflower enjoying its starring role on in the spotlight.
My dining companion wolfed down the delicate scallop and prawn ravioli, which is served on a roasted cauliflower purée, lemon and burnt butter sauce with cured mullet roe and pea tendrils. For reasons that are still a mystery to me, ravioli is my go-to hangover food, so it was great to enjoy a taste of this pleasing pasta while feeling peppy and chipper.
Victoria Hotel is a good, solid local boozer, albeit a noisy one (some soundproofing in the dining room would be a handy upgrade).
But with such a diverse and interesting pub menu, and a healthy range of craft and Australian beers, locals and blow-ins alike should get a buzz out of being a barfly at this suburban saloon.