Getting serious at the Plough



Plough Hotel, 333 Barkly St, Footscray. Phone: 9687 2878

We attended the opening night party, and we’ve read reviews and comments – including those at Footscray Food Blog.

Now it’s time for us try a meal proper at the new-look Plough Hotel for ourselves.

It’s an early Sunday evening dinner for us, so it’s something of a departure from our usual routine of settling in for the end of weekend night.

At the time we arrive, the landmark pub seems to be about a quarter full, yet it’s already quite noisy. The chatter and hubbub are such that they render the music little more than more background rumbling.

I can imagine that when this place is really packed and jumping, that it may be a matter of shouting instead of conversing.

Still, it’s a cheerful scene and we’re looking forward to some ace food.

There’s never been any doubt that on this particular adventure that I’d lose out to Bennie in the “I’m having the hamburger” stakes.


His “150g veal pattie served w. caramelised onions in seeded mustard, fresh tomato, lettuce, bacon, cheddar cheese & roasted garlic aioli, served w. beer battered chips” ($21) is pretty good.

For all the fancy words, it is just a burger – and he’s more than happy with that. He rates it an 8 1/2 or 9 out of 10.

I try a few hearty mouthfuls of the meat, finding it has great texture and bite but lacks somewhat in the robust flavour department.

The chips are, truth to tell, a little disappointing … in that they’re merely good rather than being the outstanding we feel entitled to expect from this sort of place selling this sort of food.

And in my case, I have to rescue my chips from underneath the chicken parmagiana ($25) that is squatting atop them.

I’m not the first person to raise this issue, and I’ll not be the last.

One question: Why?

Another question: Would a restaurant serve a steak on top of the accompanying chips?

One solution: Ask the customer their preference.


My parma itself is very good and very big.

The chicken is beaut – flavoursome, well cooked and juicy.

The cheese layer on top, too, is wonderful, and there’s quite a bit of basil doing good things amid a sauce made with real tomatoes. The gypsy ham doesn’t seem to add any extra flavour.

The salad of capsicum strands, radish and various greens is OK, but Bennie eats most of it.

But here’s an interesting thing about my otherwise lovely parma – it’s crunchy.

Yes, crunchy!

I lift up the cheese topping to discover from whence does the crunch come – only to discover that the cause is raw onion.

Quite a lot of raw onion, actually.

Red onion, mind you, so the flavour does not overpower enjoyment of my meal, especially once I scrape most of it to the side of my plate.

But still, it seems quite odd.

An inquiry made to a staff member elicits the information that the kitchen is aiming for a twist on the typical parma tomato sauce by concocting more of a salsa vibe.

OK, I quite like the sound of that.

But the actual fact of the matter is that there’s nothing salsa-like about my sauce.

What it seems like is fairly typical Napolitana parma sauce studded with quite big chunks of raw onion.

What it seems like is a mistake.

While our meal hasn’t really rocked our world, we like the new Plough heaps and will be back.



8 thoughts on “Getting serious at the Plough

  1. We have been wondering whether to try The Plough for a pub dinner but I just cannot come at $25 for a parma (it would have to be soooooooo good) or $21 for a burger. Gastro pubs may be the thing but really that is just too much. I have recently been to the Spotswood hotel and the parma was really good and complimented a glass of sparkling shiraz perfectly on a Winters night.Thanks for the honest review.


    • Each to his own, Janelle. Those were precisely the kind of prices we were expecting to pay for that sort of food in that sort of place. They are higher than the Spotswood pub, but not by a lot.


  2. I was there on Friday night and also had the veal burger which I really enjoyed. (I agree with Benny’s score of 8.5 to 9 out of 10). I have to say that also enjoyed the chips (but then I like them soggy rather than crunchy)! The desserts looked really good (especially the salted caramel panna cotta, but alas I couldn’t fit any more in).
    I do agree with you about the noise factor – it was very noisy on Friday night (but luckily we didn’t need to shout to make ourselves heard).


  3. Agree with you Kenny that the burger meat lacks in oomph. Leave the veal mince for bolognese sauce I think. But the lamb cutlets are terrific!

    I know a few people who have had small qualms about some aspect of the service at The Plough, including me. I was served a bowl of “warmed” olives that were so boiling hot that they had to be blown on before they could be eaten.

    Perhaps after a few months they are still bedding things down. Hopefully things will settle in soon? But even if some rough edges remain, I’m inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt though… it’s great to have a well-presented, kid-friendly, easy-going, no-pokies, hearty-grub pub in the area. And the size of the crowds in the evenings says that plenty of people think likewise.


    • Hi Juz! We found the service fine. Though halfway through our meal – and after the fourth wait staff person since we’d started eating had asked whether we were enjoying it – I said to Bennie: “If another persons asks, we’re doing a runner …”


      • By “service” I mean food service as well as customer service. Their waiters have been quite attentive but the mis-cues i’ve heard of relate to how the mealds have been put together or served. But they’ve all been minor things… I will be interested to see how the Plough settles in to the neighbourhood and matures over the next year or two.


    • Yeah, I know some people object – but doesn’t seem right without at least one. And I reckon there’s room at the Plough – near the entrance where the band played at the party – to have a telly without wrecking the overall feel of the place. Next – pokies! 😦


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