Grand Warrandyte Hotel (seasonal, hearty menu)

Price: $$ Pub/$$$ Bistro
Rating: 8/10
Website

Much can be said about the way the Grand has lifted its game over the last 18 months. A long overdue make-over in décor, food and open hours has transformed what was a tired old pub with so-so grub into a now proud establishment.

A couple of years ago the food on offer was verging on inedible and our table once waited close to two hours for three chicken skewers with a bit of peanut sauce.  On the sunniest of days for some reason the managers would refuse to open the beautiful old balconies, preferring to force punters to spill out onto the street while trying to enjoy a drink with friends.

But new manager Peter knows exactly what patrons are looking for and makes sure to deliver it. Fresh, homely meals and a relaxing beer in the sun are definitely on the menu these days.

Always encouraging and acting on suggestions on the Grand’s Facebook page, some major changes that Peter has been involved in include a weekend courtesy bus, more refined dining options and converting the old pokies room into a parents and kids room/dining area separated from the main room. (I just wish more parents would use it!)

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On this day we headed to the pub area where the service is relaxed and the presentation what you would expect from the local. I ordered the delicious chickpea burger, full of pumpkin, chickpeas, salad, cheese and a delicious aioli type sauce.

This burger is absolutely huge and as such, I have never been able to get through one. One order of this could easily be shared between two if you aren’t exceptionally hungry or are just looking for a snack. The side chips are possibly the best chips I have ever eaten, it’s as if they include salt in the batter rather than sprinkling it on after, which means it cooks and gets all crispy and yummy but isn’t too overpowering.

Jase ordered the one thing on the menu that can make or break a pub, the meal that acts as the decider on whether patrons will return or snub the place in future: The Parma.

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They are always huge here, but they are real crumbed chicken breasts, not like the flat, heart-shaped ones you get at the Safeway deli which for some reason always end up a little bit soggy. These are the real deal, with lots of cheese melted over the top of the generous, thinly sliced ham. (Not that thick Spam stuff.) The side salads are always fresh and a nice accompaniment. The pub serves James Squires Chancers on tap which goes down a treat with the meals on a hot day.

The bistro serves mainly the same food but offers table service and features a wine bar where you can get advice on  what to drink with lunch and dinner. There are also a few more meals on the menu which cost a little more, but once you try the pork belly with parsnip puree you will see that it is well worth the extra few bucks. Absolutely to die for. One Saturday night I had it for the first time and was actually so obsessed that I went back on Sunday and had it for dinner again. Yes, it’s that good.

Tips:

Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays are $10 cocktail nights! Proper cocktails too, not the ones with cheap and nasty ingredients.

Make sure to book on weekends or during the week if you are coming in a larger group.

The pub is good for a bite with friends, catching the footy over a meal, a relaxed Sunday arvo meal.

The Bistro is great for a date, meeting the parents, a small celebratory dinner, or a relaxing long lunch.
Warrandyte Grand Hotel on Urbanspoon

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