It’s a sad thing when the closest pub to you (no more than a 2 minute walk away) serves terrible food and worse yet, by people (see: owners) that don’t give a damn.
After a day at the tennis, we decided that cooking was definitely not going to happen at home, so the North Fitzroy Arms was a logical choice.
The menu is (overly) extensive, featuring a number of European rib-stickers; kassler, strudel, sauerkraut, kransky, goulash and this is combined with your standard pub fare (steaks, fish & chips and so on). Then the chef completes his or her menu by going around the world in 80 (or at least eight) dishes with, covering Italy (gnocchi, risotto, veal scallopine), Asia (Szechuan prawns, Thai beef salad), Australia (Kangaroo), North Africa (Harissa-spiced chicken with a pomegranate salsa), Greece… you get the picture.
My fellow diners chose the fisherman’s basket and a gnocchi dish and I placed my trust into my partner’s hands to surprise me. She chose the Kassler with dumplings and sauerkraut.
The fisherman’s basket was what you’d expect: Battered fish, a couple of prawns and scallops and some chips, served with lemon and homemade tartare sauce.
The Kassler was two big slabs of cured pork loin, covered in a mountain (literally) of homemade sauerkraut, two discs of dumpling, which could have easily passed for last month’s Christmas stuffing and some accompanying undercooked vegetables. The biggest problem with this dish was that the sauerkraut overpowered everything else on the plate… waaaaay too much paprika, which killed everything. I wasn’t at all a big fan of this dish, so as a consolation my partner generously offered to swap dishes.
And then I knew why. The gnocchi was awful. Tough, chewy bullets in a mixture of tomato, garlic, chilli and then a bunch of undercooked steamed vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, snow peas, carrot). Far too much going on in the bowl and it unpleasantly tasted a little tinny/rancid, like burnt garlic.
Then my partner chomped on a small 1.5cm piece of wire in the Kassler. By that point, we were more than done.
As we were leaving, my partner took the piece of wire on a side plate to show to the staff what was in her meal. The owner of the premises just happened to be the person on the other side of the bar at the time. His unapologetic response, totally devoid of any empathy was “Well, how did that get there” And that was it.
Note to the owner: Saying “Sorry” is not an admission of liability. You just lost some local customers who have vowed never to return and gained a review that says avoid at all costs.
P.S. Avoid at all costs.
Good for: nothing in particular
Not good for: apologies
North Fitzroy Arms Hotel Haskins Restaurant
296 Rae Street, North Fitzroy 3068
(03) 9489 8519