Pub Of The Week review: Fringe Bar
PUB: Fringe Bar.
WHERE? 33-35 Little Lonsdale Street.
PHONE: 9663 3437
WHEN? September 30, 2016.
As part of the heritage revitalisation in the eastern (top) end of town, the Fringe, born from the Oddfellows Hotel, is a terrific addition to the pub ranks of Melbourne.
The area of the Fringe is small, but clever use of space packs a lot in. In essence, (unless it is blowing a force 10 gale), you sit at ground level in a comfy beer garden, or can stand around on the first floor, adjacent to a dining/function room.
It does get windy as you are at the back of a office buildings/units/food court, but you roll with that.
Downstairs, the exposed pizza oven/kitchen does a brisk business (the front door entrance from the lane is a bit of a nuisance) but overall, the pub offers a clean and welcoming environment.
The pub is overseen by Bobby O’Kane, who has been through more pubs than …(you insert appropriate metaphor). Has become a bit of a hive for what’s left of the Public service.
Good pub, well run.
Plenty to choose from here, but the pub loves its wood fired pizza as its go-to.
Bases made on premises, quality is good and for example a large Gamberi (19.90) is topped san marzano tomato, fior di latte, tiger prawns, zucchini, cherry tomato, fresh chilli and lemon.
Italian influences dot the menu.
The offers a range of share plates, with meats/cheeses/olives erc and range high teens.
Entrees number seven or so, pastas, priced fairly include Baked Gnocchi (17.90 tomato sugo, basil, buffalo mozzarella).
Good solid mains are available low $20s with the top of the wazza a Char Grilled Rib Eye (33.90) with wood oven roasted ‘local’ mushrooms with hand cut chips and greens.
Pricing across the board tells me that this is a pub that has its market bang on.
Entrees $12, mains $22, desserts $12 – sweet pizzas.
Salumi Misti – $18.90. Good. Delightful board of a range of prosciutto, salami, cheese, jams, pickle to start. Quality good, generous serve, nice easy snacking,
Slow Roasted Pork Belly – $21.90. Very Good. Great crunch on the skin, generous slab of moist, tender meat, this dish is a pub fav and the sideshow varies regularly.
This time with a spicy tomato/chorizo mix, broccolini, and cubed sauteed potato, the Fringe is rightly proud of this one. Yes.
Fish and Chips. $21.90. Good. Lakes Entrance Flathead tails, two long hot fillets that were tasty and the white flesh shone.
Stock standard tartare, fries and green salad filled at this plate at a reasonable CBD pub price. No faults.
Smart work here, which offers tap ($5/pot) of Carlton D, Coopers pale (5.5) and some craft Hawthorn Pale and Temple Brew pale (5.5) as part of the pot/pint range, with more expansive and different by stubby.
Wine doesn’t run to a formula and cleverly – can other pub please note – there are $7/glass/low mid $30 bottles available.
A quaffable Alexander Hill white (S/B) at $7 was tried.
SERVICE AND STYLE
As part of a big group, the pub didn’t let us down with delivery of food and drink, in spite of it being a very busy Thursday pre-grand final.
Experienced operators and it showed.
The battle for the leisure dollar in the CBD is intense and the proliferation of bars has meant that pubs have to provide a point of difference.
The Fringe hold its own. The food is good, and service is knowledgeable.
There are a couple of pubs in the CBD that really shine out as offering the traditional that workers look to and The Fringe, safely sits among the best in my opinion.
Looking for that group function/Christmas party in town? Make sure you check the Fringe out. Quiet, reflective ale? Yep, you’ll love this too.