Pub Of The Week: Tony Leonard reviews The Cheeky Pint, Footscray
The Cheeky Pint
231 Barkly Street, Footscray.
When? July 10, 2020.
Located at the home of a favourite old boozer in Barkly Street, Footscray, perhaps 30 metres down from the once golden row of Chinese cafes – Poons (last man standing), Jim Wong (Vale) and Hoy Heng (long, long, gone) – The Cheeky Pint (TCP) has risen from the metaphorical ashes of the Barkly Hotel.
Trading now for the past two years, TCP has captured a comforting lounge feel, operating mainly from two spaces, punctuated by a bar in the middle.
While the current layout bears no resemblance to its forefather, TCP houses a micro-brewery of Lilliputian stature to the rear of the bar, where it proudly produces in own lagers, ales, stouts and ciders, including an alco-seltzer called Isolation Tonic that has a shot of alcohol in sparkling water with a dash of lime.
More power to this small business. The Club feel with the furniture, smart easy going beer food nicely priced, (wine list is priced fairly), topped off with engaging staff makes for a good night out.
The dining area (as such) is smallish and fairly straightforward. The soundtrack on the night (just a tad intrusive than it need due to COVID) was an outstanding mix of the 60s – who doesn’t love For what it’s Worth by Buffalo Springfield – and put together is best summed up as enjoyable.
What a nice rebirth is The Cheeky Pint.
The menu is split in 3 – Hands Out (larger entrees), Pig Out (mains), Bao Out ( clever name, featuring different fillings in a creamy Baos). Plenty of choices, all beer friendly and fairly priced. (Baos on special – $3ea., – Wednesdays. Pork Belly, pickled veg, sriracha, coriander was the best tried.
Larger entrees float in the mid-high teens and include sticky soy meatball skewers, whiskey pork belly and avocado puree, and hot fried buffalo chicken wings.
Mains go to a familiar ring, and are generously plated, with 3 burgers, 2 pastas and a steak.
Wine is not forgotten here and with prices at $9pg//$42/bottle, this is slightly below the mean in pubs in 2020. Mr. Mick Riesling was $9. Good solid buying.
Mains: $23 (steak, TBone, $36 w/Paris mash, asparagus, mushrooms).
- Middle Eastern Scotch Eggs. 2/$19. Scotch Eggs. Large eggs, encased in spiced lamb are supported by a serve of Tahini. They are huge. Pro tip: Cut into 4 and share. Tasty, but so Rich.
- Double smash burger. $23. Very tasty, own sauce, 2 big house made patties, double cheese, pickles w/milk bun and a whack of hot chips. Pub burger as good as this deserve a good rap. Be hungry.
- Lamb Ragu, Pappardelle. $24. Big bowl, meat was well cooked down, plentiful, tasty. Good pub pasta dish.
The façade of the old Barkly remains with its polished, sandy, pub tiles glistening in the drizzle. After at least 30 years (for me) it is hard to remember the exact layout but you know you are in this pub, albeit much smaller. No Carlton Draught, No pool tables, Yes a Microbrewery and Yes a range of Baos at the old Barkly? Hell has frozen over.
Applause too for the adherence to current Covid protocols at TCP. It could be easy to drop the ball here in pubs, but with any easing of numbers delayed to current resurgence, owner/operators cannot lapse with record taking, provision of cleaners and above all, the social distancing.
You want to see small businesses like this flourish, especially when they deserve to. If you have a couple of spare leisure dollars head to Footscray (still open!!) and one at The Cheeky Pint.