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Tony Leonard’s first quarterly review for 2018

pub of the week
Article image for Tony Leonard’s first quarterly review for 2018

DeBortoli Pubs of the 1st quarter (26 January – 28 April 2018)

May 4, 2018


Time to reflect on the first 3 months of the DeBortoli Pub of the week on Neil Mitchell’s program. I select my favorite of this period and from a final list of 10, narrow it down to the best 3 or so for Pub of the year honours. This is the 23rd year of doing this with Neil and as is obvious,  much has changed including two former Pub of the Year recipients no longer trading.  More underneath.

Before naming the top 3, here are some thoughts on the first quarter;


Cannot be sure where the new supply of Barramundi is being sourced, but for those pubs who are getting the right gear, then this omni-present species, along with Flathead and Flake, can be ordered with confidence.  Just always enquire whether you can have it grilled.  The taste is spot on at the moment. (if it can only be done deep fried, then a little more caution).


Again two ancient gripes from me. Pub websites are falling behind in keeping prices, menus, events up to date. This is your window to the world and a terrific site has to attract business. Just starting to notice staff amping the music up again during lunch. A reason people go the pub is to socialise: not to hear Livin’ on a Prayer.


Land prices are through the roof and for those cashed up, then pubs are prime targets. Disproportionate amounts of pubs have ceased trading or have been knocked down. Sad to hear the wonderful Carringbush  (pub of year 2005) has ceased trading along with some mates in the area (Retreat, Park). Gone forever is the Royal Park (Nth Melb and pub of the year 2000) now just a vacant space.


From the first quarter reviews (26/1 and 28/4/17), 3 pubs have been nominated;

 Great food, well priced, great drinks, well priced, genial owner, easy on the eye in an inner north suburban fashion, the CC doesn’t do anything more than make you welcome and look after you. Simple? Not really, but if you want a ripping day/night in a pub then the Commercial Club is your go to.  Mum’s Sausage rolls, glass of beer and take it in.

An old favorite that has worn many faces during the years but I like this version as much as any of the journey.  The food is ramped up a little, ditto drinks, but with its darkish interior and wonderful beer garden, old chums will return and new friends found.  Try the Spaghetti Bolognaise. Yep!.  It’s a beauty.

Still one of the best in Melbourne, given the location and how the pub uses them to the maximum.  As I said in review, the lines are blurred as to its “pubness”, but there’s a great bar top have one at, but with the street and surround available, why would you?  Try the Sardines.

All correspondence via email is read and when an answer is needed I will get back to you. All other other lifestyle reviews/recipes are contained at

Please keep comments and suggestions coming to

Thanks again for the support from Vince Gurciullo and the team at DeBortoli in my 23rd year of this segment.


pub of the week