Meal of the week No.17: Prince Albert Hotel

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At about the time CTS enjoyed a lovely meal at Williamstown’s Prince Albert Hotel we became aware they were soon to join the ranks of those offering Sunday roast meals.

Of course we had to check it out!

Bennie and I subsequently turned up and went away disappointed as we’d arrived a week too early for the roast introduction.

This Sunday, though, I am even more in the mood as it’s a chilly and rain-blasted day.

The pub is warm, I pay for my roast pork plate, wait and am then blown away.

The Prince Albert is setting a new benchmark if this lunch is anything to go by.

The above costs $15 and it’s wonderful.

A handful of crisp spud chunks.

Another handful of delicious, whole roast baby carrots.

Two meaty slabs of pork with tremendous flavour, not as fall-apart tender perhaps as rare roast beef or lamb but superb eating nevertheless.

A mound on the side of fine, mustard-laced slaw.

Nice tub of jus for dipping.

Downsides?

The apple sauce is cold and the pork skin is chewy rather than crisp.

But so good is my lunch I feel churlish even mentioning them.

Wow.

See earlier story here.

On a roast roll

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Carv’n It Up, shop 1a 167-179 Tarneit Road, Werribee. Phone: 9974 0661

Werribee Village is one of the older – and smaller – shopping centres in the area.

It has a Sim’s.

It has Chinese x 2, F&C, a chook shop and a place with curry signage that purportedly sells kebabs.

And now it has a brand new purveyor of old-fashioned roasts and accessories.

 

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Carv’n It Up is rather austere in terms of decor but on the evidence of my Saturday lunch-time visit, it is already a hit with locals.

Folks aren’t queuing up out the door but they are coming and going in a steady stream.

The roast theme is delivered via meals, family deals, rolls and a bevy of extras.

I am gratified my lunch is served on good, solid, real crockery and with metal cutlery.

Potential takeaway customers be warned, though – at least some of the to-go meals are served on yukky polystyrene trays.

 

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Roast beef with veg (14.90) does me real good.

The three slices of beef are well done but cut easily enough – though a serrated knife would’ve been appreciated.

The meat serve is very generous – so much so that what at first appears to be a surfeit of gravy is only just enough to make my meal work.

I like the spuds and peas.

But I am enough of a roast traditionalist to find the veg “medley” a bit over ambitious and fiddly – I do not want capsicum with my roasts.

See other recent stories about roasts here and here.

 

Carv'n It Up on Urbanspoon

 

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Sunday pub roasts? We have a winner.

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Railway Hotel, 35 Anderson Street, Yarraville. Phone: 9687 2034

Sunday roast lunches at pubs – $10, $15, $20, $25?

Do you get what you pay for?

As far as we know, the Spottiswoode Hotel continues to offer a grand $10 deal on Sundays.

Others we know of in the inner deliver offer $20+ offerings.

This Sunday, Bennie gives up on his desire for Vietnamese tomato rice in the face of his dad’s determination to go roast.

We first head for a certain Williamstown pub we believe now has $15 roast lunches on the menu, but on arrival we discover they will not start until the following weekend.

Plan B is return home, park the car and walk to our local, the Railway Hotel, which has been advertising $18.50 Sunday roasts – sort of a middle ground price-wise , with two kinds of meat on offer.

Will it be worth the extra dollars?

We pay, get our number and wait.

 

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Bennie chooses the pork.

I try a mouthful.

Perhaps unsurprisingly it’s dry but – good stuff – tender enough.

But it IS full of strong, good piggy flavour.

The crackling is a tad salty but all of it is crisp and a joy to eat.

One pub manager has told me it’s simply impossible in regards to power bills to serve roast veggies at these sorts of prices.

That I don’t mind.

The spud is roasted and herbed and very good.

The beans, broccoli and carrots may be steamed but they are wonderful – cooked more than al dente and perfect.

 

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I select the roast beef (top photograph).

It’s fabulous.

It appears to be smothered in good gravy.

But as it turns out there is just enough gravy – and only just enough – to support the meat.

I am served three slices that are just shy of half an inch thick.

The meat is tender and tastes grand.

It breaks apart in strands that I more familiar with from dining on brisket at BBQ joints.

This is new and wonderful territory for me when it comes to roast beef.

There is so much of it, I keep offering Bennie hefty chunks even as I close in on the final slice.

“I can’t eat it all, mate!”

“That’s because you aren’t manly enough …”

I am on a serious food high as we skip down the street for some sugar and spice from our fave ice-cream joint.

The Railway Hotel Sunday roasts have convinced me that sometimes, at least, you do get what you pay for.

And it’s still a bargain.

 

Railway Hotel on Urbanspoon

 

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Bowling up for a roast lunch

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Newport Bowls Club, 4 Market Street, Newport. Phone: 9391 1212

Lawn bowls – any kind of bowls, for that matter – do not ride highly in the CTS sports world.

But I do love hanging out for a while in a bowls club – they’re so prevalent in Melbourne, it’s hard not to spend some time in them, be it for a gig a feed or … maybe even for a game of bowls.

Newport Bowls Club is a classic of the old-school.

 

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And like many such institutions, it’s making good efforts at making itself part of the local community beyond bowls players.

It hosts the Newport Fiddle and Folk Club and holds other music events.

On the Sunday I visit, a large group of young families – including many bubs – is in the house to enjoy the $20 offer of barefoot bowls in conjunction with a special menu.

I’m in the house for the $10 Sunday roast (see menus below).

 

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What looks like a modest and even perhaps drab meal is very enjoyable.

The roast beef is well done without being dry and is pretty good.

But it’s the vegetables that star – the al dente cauliflower and superb roast spuds are particularly memorable.

 

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I’m easily persuaded to partake of the member-created sticky date pudding ($7).

It appears to be of modest dimensions but turns out to be quite filling.

Even better, it a has lightness of texture and flavour that is sublime – with a generous gob of ice cream doing the business, I can easily imagine I’m desserting at a fancy restaurant somewhere!

Check out the club’s website here.

 

Newport Bowls Club on Urbanspoon

 

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Spottiswoode Hotel

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Spottiswoode Hotel, 62 Hudsons Rd, Spotswood. Phone: 9391 1330

Quite a few months before our fine Sunday lunch at the Spottiswoode Hotel, we’d dropped in merely in pursuit of ATM facilities.

The Consider The Sauce ethos fully embraces bare-bones, old-school pubs, but in this case the gloomy vibe saw us heading for the exit as soon as our business was done.

Since then, the place has undergone a comprehensive makeover.

We’ve been hearing good things about it.

We’ve checked out the menu at the pub’s website, and found it to be meaty, matey and very good-looking.

We’ve been hearing good things, too, about the size, quality and price of the joint’s Sunday roast deal – Thanks, Sue! – so we’re upbeat for our visit.

The renovations have been drastic.

There’s a lot roomy space amid the three co-joined interior eating/drinking spaces.

There’s a lot of wood and vintage brick, comfy-looking armchairs, a big fireplace and a sweet spot outside with umbrellas and a woodfired oven.

And there’s even a room off to the side with pinball machines, into which we later pump a handful of gold coins.

It all looks great and we find the service matches.

The menu runs to a savvy list of pub grub classics and more priced around the $20 mark for main courses.

There’s specials during the week – steak and a drink on Mondays, F&C and a drink on Tuesdays, parma and a drink on Wednesday and curry and a drink on Thursdays, all for $15. We spy, too, another special scrawled on one of the mirrors – $16 for a whole grilled with salad and chips.

But we’re here for the $10 roast.

Thus continues this year’s Consider The Sauce romance of the roast that has taken in the Famous Blue Raincoat, the Footscray Club, Bruno’s Coffee Lounge and even New Zealand.

The Spottiswoode roast deal is as good as any.

The serves look a tad modest, but that turns out to be all about the large plates.

The vegetables – nice selection, cooked but not mushy – are really tasty.

The meat – it’s lamb on the day we visit – is tender and plentiful, although we seem to have struck a portion of the animal that’s quite fatty. No matter.

The gravy is dark and rich.

The spuds are fall-apart tender – if we have any regrets it’s that we don’t get more than the two halves each we are provided.

But that’s a minor issue considering the price, terrific atmosphere and really fine service that sees the needs of each and every table met with aplomb by numerous staff members.

We’re keen to return to explore the regular menu.

Spottiswoode Hotel on Urbanspoon

Bruno’s Coffee Lounge

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Bruno’s Coffee Lounge, 39 Puckle Street, Moonee Ponds. Phone: 9370 0349

Bruno’s Coffee Lounge is an old-school cafe in an old-school, narrow arcade/mall off Puckle St.

It’d long ago registered in my mind as somewhere worth checking out, but it took a nudge from Consider The Sauce pal Nat Stockley to get me stepping through the door.

But I’m so glad I have.

I’ll cover the food I have on my initial visit shortly.

But what rally wows me about this place is the warmth and gentleness of the welcome – it’s like a soothing balm.

The blankie-blankie of eateries, if you like.

Many and Mick, originally from Shanghai, have been in residence at Bruno’s for about 13 years.

Before them, it was under the sway of Greek influences for eight years, and before that – and starting in 1961 – it was run by eponymous Bruno, he being of Italian extraction.

How about that?

A 50-year-old Moonee Ponds institution serving honest, delicious food across generations and cultural backgrounds! 

The couple tell me that they’ve pretty much stuck with food routines and menu they inherited, though I’m sure there’s been some tweaking along the way.

Besides – and based on my superb lunch – why would they change anything of substance?

The last thing I expect to be having is a full-on roast, but I let Mandy sweet talk me into it.

There’s salads, sandwiches and rolls and breakfasts – and more.

But maybe I’m roast pushover because of rather wonderful meals I’ve enjoyed lately at the Famous Blue Rain Coat and the Footscray Club.

The Bruno’s roast deal ($12.90) is every bit as good, maybe even better.

Really, really fine, in fact.

Sliced potatoes – roasted with salt, pepper, onion and oil; drained of the oil and then grilled; melt-in-your-mouth sensational.

Roast beef equally fantastic and moist – sliced thinly; cooked wrapped snugly in foil to keep the juices in; topped with heaps of lovely gravy.

The vegetables go pretty good, too; hand-cut carrot, cauliflower, broccoli; well-cooked but nowhere near mushy. And definitely not frozen!

Gosh, I wonder after a knockout lunch, how good might the roast pork be? Or the chicken parma or the rissole dinner?

And how incredible if the coffee’s as good as the food I’ve tried?

Bruno's Coffee Lounge on Urbanspoon

Footscray Club

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Footscray Club, 43 Paisley St, Footscray. Phone: 9687 2059

The Footscray Club started life in 1894, dedicated to cycling, making it one of Footscray’s oldest institutions and quite possibly its oldest “business”.

The club’s first 10 years saw it based in Nicholson St, before moving to its current premises in Paisley St. 

A few years ago, the club sold the building … to the bloke who runs the bread shop on the ground floor.

As one member quipped to me: “He used to pay us rent, now we pay him rent!”

I am told the club’s future is assured for many years to come through a lease on favourable terms – and no doubt the Bread Shop Bloke is happy to have the space tenanted by some very nice folk.

I’d passed the Footcray Club many times, always found the street-level door closed, assumed the club was a private affair and moved on.

A few weeks back, however, I found the door unlocked, so up the stairs I went, eventually to be greeted by the week-day manager, Gary, a man whose moustache is even more preposterous than that of yours truly.

After getting the lowdown on how the club operates, and ascertaining positively that I’m very welcome, I vowed to return on another day.

Sadly, income requirements mean the lunches on Thursday and Fridays will have to wait.

On those days, the club serves a range of up to 10 different meals – $7, or $10 with a pot of beer.

Read about them here.

I am however, able to visit one of the Sunday Sipper sessions, run and catered for by the members themselves, with a more concise choice of fodder.

Finding the door locked, I press the intercom button, hear some muffled words and then a series of clicks as I continue to wiggle and waggle the door handle.

Eventually, I am let in by Lance, the club member who seems to be presiding over this particular Sunday Sipper outing.

Turns out, I should be pulling the door open …

I find a nice room done out in typical club style, with about a dozen members relaxing and enjoying, some of them, the flat-screen horse racing action or the flat-screen Bathurst action.

Meal of the day is roast beef with onion gravy and vegies – $5 for members, $7 for non-members but everyone pays the member price. Well, I did!

It’s a fine meal – and a ridiculous bargain for $5.

The spuds, carrots and gravy are tops, the beef is nicely chewy and flavoursome.

The club’s standard price for a pot is a remarkable-for-these-days $3 – $2.20 on Sundays!

The club also runs a Christmas in July bash for $15.

And a Christmas at Christmas bash – also for $15.

Club membership costs $22 a year – bargain!

As I depart a happy man, a bunch of recently arrived members are merrily setting up for that afternoon’s presentation function to wrap up another year of footy tipping.

You won’t get a bowl of pho or a cafe latte at the Footscray, but you will get a heaping serve of Footscray soul.

Check out the club’s website or Facebook page.