1 June 2008

Precinct Hotel

60 Swan St, Richmond
Ph: 9429 1633
Open: seven days, noon until late

LET’S be honest. Anything to open on the site of the former Depot hotel in Richmond, would be a fair improvement on the Depot (or, as a former flatmate of mine used to call it, the Des-pot).

But in a stroke of luck for Richmond locals, the Precinct hotel is more than a fair improvement.

In fact, a combination of cozy nooks, open bar areas, a killer beer garden and a separate dining room means the Precinct has become the suburb’s newest and trendiest pub. And, in an added bonus, what’s coming out of the Precinct’s kitchen isn’t bad either.

Head chef Pat Ortuso has put a bit of a modern twist on traditional pub favourites such as his tempura-battered flathead ($24), his Thai red chicken curry ($22) and his beef eye fillet and black pepper stir fry ($24).

On a recent visit I was more than happy with the flavour of Ortuso’s lamb tagine with almond cous-cous and yoghurt ($25) and my buddy had a glorious 400g rib eye with kipfler potato and rosemary and garlic jus ($30). The steak was a mammoth meal and one that clearly satisfied her because she’s still raving about it.

What others are raving about however, is the jewel in the Precinct’s crown…the pie floater.

Yep, you read correctly, a pie floater. And it’s exactly how you’d imagine it would be: a meat pie floating in pea soup with a drizzle of tomato sauce.

But before you think the Precinct is more feral than funk, this version isn’t something you’d buy from a van out the front of a South Australian nightclub at 4am. The Precinct’s classy version features a homemade pie full of tasty chunks of beef and thick gravy. Even though the pub has only been open since January, the signature dish is already a sure-fire hit.

It’s not necessary but if you feel like adding a side dish, the offerings – including a rocket and parmesan salad and beer-battered fries – are a bargain at $5. And if you’ve got room for dessert I can highly recommend the chocolate pudding with vanilla ice cream ($10).

The Precinct is the latest baby of the Darcy family, who we last saw as part owners in Maribrynong’s Angler’s Tavern. The family – including former Bulldogs champ, Luke – has a long history in hospitality, which began in the 70s at South Australia’s Roxby Downs when Luke’s parents, Janet and David ran an outback restaurant.

The Precinct however is far from an outback oasis. What it is, is a nifty, inner-city hotel with a happening vibe, great location and, most importantly, good tucker.

Check it out.


- zoe

1 comment:

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