Tag Archives: The Stanley Pub

A Flood and a Feast………… How I ate the Northeast

4 Sep

Part 2!  We left Mount Hotham on Friday, just as major storm warnings were being predicted for the following day in the Wangaratta/Beechworth region. Bingo! Straight to Bridge Road Brewers Beechworth.  We are big fans of the brews being produced here, a true-blue Vic microbrewery, the crew here are totally hands on with everything and they are putting out some of the best and most interesting brews of any microbrewery in Victoria.  We were fortunate enough to be there when the B2 Bomber was on tap, a black Belgian IPA, 8.5%. A great beer, dangerously easy.  Good beery food here too, pizzas are really good, as was a beef, porter & mushroom pie with an interesting crunchy salad.  As well as the pizzas, they have all sorts of beer bread and pretzels made in-house too.

Pizza & a Pie at Bridge Rd

After checking into the well-located, shabby & not-so-chic Mrs Doigs Cottage, all 9 of us rocked into the front bar at the historic Tanswell’s Commercial Hotel in the main street.  It has familial ties to the Bridge Road Brewers, all their beers are on tap, the front bar was chocka-block full and the fire was roaring.  With no booking & 5 kids, we were graciously shown a table.  Our meals were fantastic, generous in size and all the staff were friendly.  It had an interesting wine list too, we had a bottle of William Fevre Chablis at a very reasonable price.  This is a classic old pub, with country hospitality.  Having excellent locally brewed beers on tap it definitely adds to the experience.  Exactly as it should be. Take note all other country pubs!

Saturday involved a babysitter. All day and night. We were committed to a marathon sitting. First stop the beautiful Wardens. Having been there many times, we were excited about returning and it was to be a highlight of our trip. We were ushered in a side door to a side room, there was a short bar/snacks menu and 2 house wines (apart from the 4 fancy wines in the Enomatic system).  We embarassingly left.  We could hear staff in the restaurant, with Bon Jovi or something blaring through their trannie.  I don’t know if it’s a cost-cutting measure, but it is definitely did not live up to the Chefs Hat experience we were expecting.

Luckily for us, the recently opened Green Shed Bistro was open.  Located in a gorgeous historic old printing press, Nathan & Megan (previously of Gigi’s of Beechworth) have done a little makeover and launched their own restaurant with a bit of an asian twist on their bistro style food.  We had a table right by the fire (fascinated by the crooked chimney) and settled in for the duration.  By now the locals were loading their animals into their arks and we watched the rain absolutely pour down outside through the steamy windows.

Crooked fireplace, Green Shed Bistro

Green Shed Bistro

Our meals were completely enjoyable. It was a lovely thing. Didn’t require a lot of thinking, each one a surprise, and all delicious and beautifully presented. Marc Bredif Vouvray accompanied the entrees, crispy quail & watermelon salad & cute little fried balls of labneh, a deconstructed lamb souvlaki, smoked lemongrass salmon with asian herbs & chilli and I chose this pork mince on lettuce (san choi bow in other words)

Chinese style pork mince

Our host & chef Nathan popped by, lovely fellow, recommended the Greenstone Shiraz, which we had with mains & told us about the winery’s hard to find Sangiovese.

Our mains, again, were interesting, fresh and delicious if a little quackky.  The Brewer had a big steaming bowl of  broth full of duck and asian veg & herbs, mine was the duck pie, on a bed of beetroot. Gorgeous.

Duck Pie

We even had a couple of desserts which again, were beautiful. Bread & Butter pudding with a fruit & pistaschio compote, and a creme brulee.  Not much time left until dinner. Time to walk or sleep it off before the main event. I had already cruised the streets and taken this pic of the menu at Provenance which we were all looking forward to.

My Dinner

The week before we arrived, they had just been awarded their 2nd Chefs Hat and the regional wine list award.  Lucky I booked months earlier!  With a severe case of indecision, we ordered most dishes on the menu. I chose the sauteed cauliflower with chickpea puree & polenta crumbs plus the chestnut tagliatelle with hazelnuts & sage butter as my entrees. I am a sucker for any dish with sage cooked in butter. They were both just beautiful.   I also had a case of agonising food envy over the confit artichoke and cured tuna dish, which was hands down, the prettiest dish of the night.

We also had the carrot, chorizo & prawns.  It had a gorgeous little froth of bisque on top.  It is a very dim & romantic restaurant, and I really struggled to get any good pics. This is the best I could do, just the one of that dish.

Prawn, chorizo, carrot, Provenance

For mains I picked the rabbit.  I think I had an epiphany over that rabbit.  I am salivating right now writing about the flavours in this dish. Braised wild rabbit, peas & orzo. It was wet. With the most intense flavour. I would seriously drive there just to eat that. We were happy to see the previously recommended and hard-to-get Greenstone Sangiovese on the list and matched to my rabbit, dined & gone to heaven.  The brewer had the Angus/Hereford Scotch (which was a cross breed, not a slice of each!) and it was perfect.  If you want to see some much better pics of Provenance, checkout Tristan Kenney’s Flickr set.  His photo’s are beautiful, does the food justice. They visited just a week after us and also blogged their trip on Eat, Drink, Stagger.

One problem in Beechworth was the lack of a decent coffee, after trying a few spots, we were pretty desparate by Sunday! Given it was my birthday and 2x Fathers Days, we reeeeally needed a goodie.  Knowing from his Twittering that chef Michael Ryan was somewhat of a coffee afficiondo, I did what I had to ie begged! He graciously let us drop by the garden and fuel up, which was greatly appreciated and needed.

Next stop… The Stanley Pub.  This is a divine little country pub with a cosy feel, real pub vibe and spacious beer garden.  Having Bridge Road’s Chestnut Pilsner on tap was a good thing too.  It was pretty crazy there, being Fathers Day, plus they had been closed for a month or more up until that week and a new chef had just started!  Eventually they got the menus folded and we were off.

Goats Cheese Tart

Blue Eye at Stanley Pub

Pictured is the Milawa goats cheese & caramelised onion tart and the Blue-eye.  The food was all lovely.  It’s like pub grub that’s really gussied up.  Not sure it quite hits the ‘gastropub’ mark, but a little bit fancy… yes! Checkout what they did to the pie!

Our Fancy Pie at the Stanley Pub

We also had some very nice oysters served with bread made in-house and nice butter.  All the food was good, service was pretty harried, but we were a mad group.  After lunch we were grateful for the outdoor beer garden to stretch some legs whilst we finished our wine……

Who's watching the children? My fave pic of holiday!

Final stop of the holiday was one last visit to Bridge Road Brewers for Sunday night pizza night.  It was a packed house, the pizzas were awesome, and we were very pleased to get a few more of the B2 Bombers in before we left town.

The roads were all closed out of town due to flooding, we had to detour to Wangaratta to get onto the Hume.  I have never really seen floods before, but it was pretty incredible, driving past miles of paddocks, all underwater.  We had such a great time in Beechworth, it really would not have been such a bad thing to have been stranded there just a little longer… maybe just a couple more places we could have feasted!

Wangaratta Flooding

And it just went on and on….

Fences underwater, cows seek higher ground