Ross McClennan, one of our favourite musicians, recently put on a big gig at the newish Brunswick pub The Spotted Mallard. Having found their food pretty satisfactory on our first visit, we booked a table and turned it into a dinner & show combo. It's a lovely, lovely space - an old ballroom that has been minimally renovated into a quaint and stylish pub. They've got a great range of beers, friendly staff and the vibe is generally busy but not unpleasantly crammed.
The menu has changed a bit since our earlier visit - gone is the reasonably successful mushroom burger, replaced with a chickpea and vegetable version served with red onion relish, pickles, rocket and tomato chilli jam plus chunky fries and coleslaw ($19).
This is an improvement - the patty is tastier and easier to eat than the mushroom one and the trimmings combine sweetness, spiciness and saltiness in excellent proportions. The bun is briochey, which means this isn't vegan by default, but the menu makes it clear they can do it animal-product free.
Cindy was very excited by the sound of the wild mushroom pot pie, stuffed with handpicked mushrooms cooked in a creamy sauce ($20).
This was great as well - golden, flaky pastry covering a rich and hearty stew. Perfect winter fare.
The Spotted Mallard is a lovely addition to Sydney Road - it's a warm and welcoming room with good food and drinks and a steady stream of interesting gigs to keep things interesting. The service has improved out of sight from the teething problems we hit just after they opened - they had a pretty full room on Saturday night and still pumped our food out quickly and well. We've been a semi-regular presence there since they opened, and this visit did nothing to dampen our enthusiasm.
Read about our first trip here. Since then, Proof that Dancers Eat and The Burger Adventure have loved it, while Parma Daze and mangiabeve have been a little less enthused.
The Spotted Mallard
314 Sydney Rd, Brunswick
veg dishes $8-19
Accessibility: The Spotted Mallard's dining area is located up a wide flight of stairs, and some tables are accessed via further stairs; we didn't see any alternative means of entry. Tables are well spaced. All food and drinks are ordered and paid for at a high bar, then food is delivered to the table.