Pub Of The Week review: Tony Leonard visits the Clare Castle Hotel
PUB: Clare Castle Hotel.
WHERE? 354 Graham St, Port Melbourne.
PHONE: 9646 4588
WHEN? February 3, 2017.
Second review. (first circa 2000).
One street back from the ultra desirable Bay Street, stands the Clare Castle.
Although barely 200 metres from this well known strip, the pub may as well be trapped in a 70s time warp, when Freddy Cook, and Buster Harland lit up the terraces at North Port, and the prospect of securing a discounted microwave here from the wharves made one truly salivate.
Traditional, Throwback, Stalwart. Indeed if a role of a pub is to baptise ’em and bury ’em, then this pub lives this large. Same faces after a long absence.
It’s got a TAB, no Pokies. It has a neat separate dining room. It has a parlour for a quiet game of pool. The public bar, which uses the same carpet that Noah fitted out the Ark, is grey and sturdy.
There are tables dotted around the bar and the blackboard menu lists pub favourites. The beer is Carlton Draught. There are pictures of racehorses and some VFA jumpers are framed.
Its is old school. And it still works.
The menu is all the pubs favs in one and fairly priced too. Spaghetti Bolognaise, Lamb Shanks, home made Rissoles, Parma, Burger etc etc. It’s all good. Maybe the Osso Bucco, saffron rice and gremolata (25) is the most complex, but don’t be fooled, this is wholesome, well made pub grub.
South melbourne market dimmies $9/3 also are on the list.
Entrees $10 , Mains $21.
Porterhouse, 300g $18. (normally 24 in bar). Chips and salad.
Good piece of steak, cooked MR, standard C&S, no problems.
Pork sausages, mash, peas, bacon, cabbage. $21. Two perfectly sized snags, rustic, big flavours.
Loved the bacon and cabbage, old style pub grub.
Standard beer offerings, well presented.
Wine a mix of favs and different. Small list. From the Goulburn, Monichino Shiraz – $9/glass//$40/bottle was tried. Really good drop, big flavour.
SERVICE AND STYLE
Easy going, no frills, just a happy place to be.
The pub has survived and thrived in spite of the massive change in this part of Melbourne.
The more things change etc etc. Thank goodness.
The CCH was not the choice today.
Indeed another legendary Port pub in Cruickshank st, the Cricketers arms, aka Hole in the Wall (why so many aliases in Port?) was on the cards with massive changes afoot there: indeed to be relaunched as the House of Food and Wine.
Not ready yet, so a safe and reliable was chosen.
It is easy to become protective of your neighbourhood local. The world will officially come to an end if this one, the Clare Castle, ever goes upmarket.