Thursday, June 30, 2011

June 20, 2011: Retreat Hotel

Pub-club continues to take us to every vaguely veg-friendly pub in Melbourne. This time up was the long-neglected Retreat Hotel on Sydney Road, to test drive their newly instigated Mariachi Monday Mexican Menu extravaganza. Extravaganza is probably overstating things since the special Mexican menu is pretty short: tacos, nachos, quesadillas and a few other bits and pieces. Still, we were there for Mexican so we didn't even check out the regular pub menu options. The pub itself is sprawling - there's plenty of space, with a couple of big indoor areas, a few front booths and a great beer garden. We pulled up a booth and got stuck into our free chips and dip (a bonus for anyone ordering Mexican).

I couldn't resist the quesadilla (black bean, tomato and cheese, with whipped goats cheese and avocado, $16). The filling was a rich mix of mushrooms, beans and rice, encased in a crisply fried tortilla and smeared with generous dollops of guacamole and whipped cheese on top. I'd have enjoyed some hot sauce to go along with it, but that's a trivial complaint about what was a surprisingly good Mexican meal from a pub kitchen.

In the end Cindy's mushroom and bean tacos (3 for $12) were a fairly similar proposition - the same bean and mushroom filling as my quesadilla, with a blob each of guacamole, salsa and sour cream inside.

Given the quality of the food they turned out for us, The Retreat's non-Mexican menu is one we'll be swinging by to explore in the not too distant future. It's got a friendly, grungy vibe, is nice and spacious and has plenty of good beer on tap. It's not quite in the top tier of veg-friendly Melbourne pubs, but it's still a worthy addition to our ever-expanding list.


There's surprisingly little buzz about the Retreat in the blogosphere, an old positive review from Veggie Friendly and a more recent offering from Bar Amigo.


Retreat Hotel
280 Sydney Rd, Brunswick (cnr Glenlyon)
9380 4090
Mexican meals $12-$16

Accessibility: There's a small step on entry, but otherwise this is relatively accessible - there's space between tables, decent lighting and accessible toilets.

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