Roast with the most

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Fitzroy Town Hall Hotel, 166 Johnston Street, Fitzroy. Phone: 9416 5055

It’s been a while between drinks in the Sunday roast lunch department for CTS, so I am delighted to step out – and outside the Melbourne’s west – to meet Nat at the Fitzroy Town Hall Hotel.

It’s a lovely place on Johnston Street.

It’s done up nicely, though I suspect it’s life and times stretch way back.

Oddly, I have no recall of it from my early-days-in-Melbourne – my first three abodes here were in Fitzroy.

But then, food was pretty much – but not entirely – mere fuel for me then; I was busy with other things.

Going by the menu and the various blackboards around, this pub is a serious foodie destination.

But we’re definitely here for the roast.

Nat has a strong hunch I’ll be delighted.

He’s dead right.

Most of the Sunday roasts written about in the CTS archives are of the cheap ‘n’ cheerful variety that lob in somewhere in the $10 to $15 range.

But we are only too happy to pay more for real class.

Fitzroy Town Hall delivers.

 

 

Our plates of Diamantina topside wagyu with winter vegetables, Yorkshire pudding and gravy are a dream and worth every cent of the $25 we pay.

All is good; all is – actually – perfect.

Even the water cress fits right, rather than being a mere garnish.

The celeriac remoulade on the left is pungent enough for me to ignore the proffered selection of mustards.

The beef is rare, juicy, stupendously good.

At first glance, I start wondering how much an extra slab of meat would cost.

But it turns out to be very sufficient, especially as …

 

 

… the bowl of sooper dooper spuds we share is so generous.

With them come a handful of Yorkshire puds.

And even these are winners.

So often, in my experience, they are akin to fossilised turds.

Here, though, they are light and a boss part of our meals rather than a nod to stodgy tradition.

 

Seddon roast lunch – superb

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Charles and Gamon, 2 Gamon Street, Seddon. Phone: 9689 0203

When Bennie was a just-born, I made my first property foray to the west with a view to finding somewhere for us to live, as the CBD studio bachelor pad simply wasn’t cutting it any longer.

House-scouting required, of course, a coffee break.

And I distinctly recall there wasn’t a lot of choice.

In fact, I doubt there’s any more than handful of businesses in the Gamon/Charles/Victoria neighbourhood that are now as they were then.

The chicken shop?

Probably.

But the area has certainly changed – a LOT.

Our coffee stop that day – I may even have had a burger – was made at a joint called the Bowser Cafe, which was housed in a rather ugly brown building that did little to hide its service station heritage.

The Bowser eventually became Sabroso – and I reckon the premises may have at some point before then housed another eatery of some sort.

I trust readers with more reliable memories than mine will tell me if that is the case.

In any case, Sabroso passed us by, our sole visit being a coffee/hot choc stop while out enjoying a late-night amble.

 

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And now Sabroso is gone, replaced by a rebranding exercise called Charles and Gamon.

From what I gather, the same proprietors are still in place with the name change at least partially driven by a desire to distance themselves from the Spanish food that previously was in place.

Now C&G is doing a nice line-up of bistro-style food, including what look like really splendid mid-week meals of comfort food for a very fine $17.

Check out the full menu at the C&G website here.

Not much appears to have changed apart from the name, though there is some vintage wood panelling about the place.

Based on our outstanding Sunday roast lunches, C&G is doing good things.

We’ve been roasting a bit lately – see here and here – but the C&G meals really are the best we’ve had in the west so far.

At $20, they’re a little more pricey than what is available elsewhere but they erase any doubt about getting what we pay for from our first bites.

We consider our lunches a bargain.

 

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Both the roast chicken and …

 

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… the slow-roasted lamb shoulder are abbreviated versions of dishes available at greater length and prices on the C&G menu’s “for the table” section.

The chook is a slightly unappealing yellow-khaki but is a cracker to eat – moist, juicy, delicious, with good gravy and a nice touch of rosemary.

The lamb is gorgeous – crusty, tender and, like the chicken, of good size.

It’s the kind of lamb that wouldn’t be out of place in a really fine Greek eatery or even a barbecue place.

Our spuds are simply wonderful.

No shortchanging in evidence here, with both our plates having plenty of crisp roasted spud chunks that fall into the “moans ‘n’ groans of pleasure” bag.

Slaw?

With Sunday roasts?

Hey, it may not be traditional – and it may even be done as a cost-conscious measure.

But our fresh slaw works incredibly well with the meats and potato.

These have been killer Sunday roast meals.


Click to add a blog post for Charles & Gamon (C & G) on Zomato

 

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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 arrivedĀ 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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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