If there is one thing a far from home pom misses, it is the quintessential traditional pub. Even in the UK they are fast becoming a dying breed, replaced by large chain outlets serving the usual plastic food with zero atmosphere. So it was fantastic when I was introduced to the All Nations Hotel in Richmond.
While retaining all the charm and character you would expect from a 137 year old pub, the place has benefited from a facelift befitting the old girl. Inside gaming machines and music are persona non grata, while a cosy beer garden with retractable roof houses large plasma screens to watch the game. If you prefer the real thing, a shuttle bus runs to the MCG and back for all AFL games and major events.
The building is as interesting as the attentive staff who make you feel like a local, even if it's your first visit. The restaurant stands as it has done for generations with open fire and exposed brick work; with a snug, public bar and private dining room catering for larger or private functions it has the lot. What really defines this pub though is its atmosphere and amazing food, and in my opinion the best pint of Guinness in town.
My most recent visit was a wet and cold Thursday night, which as luck would have it was also meat raffle night! Large blackboards offer traditional pub food as well as tapas and gourmet dishes. My personal choice was the 400g 30 Day Dry Aged Sirloin, cooked to absolute perfection the All Nation steaks never disappoint. But if you are looking for something a little different the Duck a L'Orange looked sensational but my next visit will be for the Veal Scaloppine that was served up next to me.
Curled around my Guinness, my feet were well and truly under the table but alas my evening drew to an end fuelled by middle aged guilt that I had work the next day, but the call of the meat raffle saw me leaving with a smile on my face and half a cow under my arm!