There he is again. Our old friend Winston, though this time not at the Astor Hotel, but up in North Hobart, where the big pub on the corner of Federal Street is named after the owner’s bull dog, so I hear. Pub food? Our pub crawl is turning up some gold.
This massive old pub, sitting at the top end of No Ho, was when I first arrived here, the Eagle Hawk Inn. A name, but not particularly memorable. Along came the team who turned this flightless bird into a pumping, busy venue. And how? Mostly through the food. Funny that.
Recommended by chefs and locals alike, The Winston does modern pub food that is tasty, filling and remarkably cheap. And there we were, our little group happened upon the night of the Winston’s fourth birthday. The entire pub was heaving with patrons all wearing black T-shirts, with the logo on the front, and the words, May the Fourth be Winston on the back.
How do we get one of those? I asked. Wear it tonight! Said the very cheery bartender behind the bar. Friendly, slick and professional, the staff delivered food and drinks with smiles aplenty. No mean feat when a place is as busy as this was. And they were quick!
We had fresh beers and stouts, but were there for the food. The photos say it all. The buffalo wings, served as they were in 1964 in Buffalo, USA by Teressa Bellissimo (how’s that for a foodie name!!!) in a spicy sauce with a side of blue cheese sauce and celery ‘because that’s what she had available’. Super.
We also ordered to share, as we do, the cheese Quesadilla burger, with an added beef patty, a full rack of lamb ribs with coleslaw, onion rings with roast garlic and balsamic mayo, fries, broccoli ‘buffalo wings’ with the buffalo sauce separately and blue cheese, and the chilli fries.
For the four of us, the entire spread cost $75 all up. Just under $20 a head, and we seriously couldn’t finish it all. The lamb ribs were dark, smoky and tender. The slaw? Just the right amount of sharp and sweet. The burger? Magnificent. Loads of pickle, cheese, soft bun (couldn’t see a quesadilla here, but who cares?), and the onion rings were big, juicy and crisp. Wow.
The only disappointment for me was the chilli fries. They came covered in a rather bland and tasteless chilli con carne on top smothered in a cheese sauce. Meh! But the star of the night was the broccoli. Wow. Sonni says she’s dreaming of that still, a bit like her pigs’ ears from the New Sydney Hotel. The broccoli was crisp, fresh, tasty, green, all things good, and perfect with the now-ubiquitous blue cheese sauce.
The coating was just a thin layer of seasoned flour and maybe some parmesan crumbs? That would make sense, but by golly it was good. Yes the food is heavy on meat, cheese, fries and beer-soaking-up carbs. The wines were more in the restaurant price bracket, and we enjoyed a Milton Pinot Gris for $42. The booze cost us more than the food. But then I guess that’s the aim of the whole establishment. Less labour, hence more profit.
The night finished with the arrival of Chupacubra who latin-rhythmed themselves into everyone’s head, and the bar became a heaving dance-floor as happy customers moved and swayed to the beats.
We Ubered home, and Sonni decided that this pub-crawl series is a good idea.
No shit, Sherlock?