Western Sydney writer, trier of new things and lover of food
Published August 26th 2014
Stately house on former fruit orchard now a preserved tavern
Brief History Alroy House is a magnificent Victorian-era house built in the 1880s by Thomas Bowring for owner Edward Lamb. It was named after Lamb's Northern Territory property Alroy Downs and was once surrounded by fruit orchards to provide fruit for the first fruit cannery in colonial Plumpton. In 1894 the house was acquired by Thomas Cable and when he died it changed ownership several times (and the lot sub-divided and sold off several times) until Julius White, a farmer, bought it in 1916. White also used the land for fruit growing, and he also added more modern bathrooms to the property. In 1921 James Wilson purchased the property and it remained with his family for 60 years until it was acquired by the Public Trustee in 1981. In 1985, Blacktown Council purchased the property and it lay abandoned for many years, suffering a fire and vandalism, and its marble fireplaces stolen. In the mid-1990s Blacktown Council began restoration work at a reported cost of $400,000 to restore the exterior and interior of this once magnificent house and finally in 2006, it opened as a family tavern.
The abandoned Alroy house
The modern day tavern
I have been to this pub a few times in the past and enjoyed the food, but recently went off it after the change in management brought a change to the food…but now I'm back. And I'm happy to see that the menu has been improved and retained the old classics such as schnitzels and steaks.
What I love about Alroy is the wrap-around, expansive verandah that is surrounded by perfectly manicured gardens. In the spring-time this area comes alive with lush, colourful flowers and lots of patrons but on this night we visit it is dark and cold, and the trellis entrance is covered with dead branches. On a lovely spring day this is bedecked in beautiful blue flowers but tonight it has a rustic look (which is still quite endearing).
As you walk in through the main entrance there is the bar on the right and a covered courtyard to the left. At the back of the house were the servants quarters, which now serve as ladies' and men's bathrooms. Past the bar and along the main hallway is the original entrance to the house, beautifully restored. There are several rooms leading off from the hallway, which were once the bedrooms and living rooms. These are now separate eating areas, with holes cut out of the walls so that you can see into each room from the bar area. I love the ornate high ceilings and (non-functioning) fireplaces in each room, as it gives an authentic colonial feel for the place. I only wish that the fireplaces were working on this cold night to make the atmosphere more cozy. "But it would be an OH & S hazard, with all the kids running around, and it would be a pain to maintain all the fireplaces in each room," my partner pointed out. Yeah, true that.
The restored hallway
The food The food is typical pub-style food (like the ones mentioned above, plus some gourmet dishes) with reasonable prices starting at $6 for starters, and the most costly main $25. We start with the cheesy garlic bread ($7.50) which is generously sized and just as described: very cheesy and garlicky, just how I like it. My main dish is the Moroccan Lamb salad with rocket, grilled eggplant, tomato, cucumber and garlic yoghurt dressing ($15) and my partner's is the 250g Nolan Private Selection New York cut sirloin with mash and veg ($23). I love the tangy-minty yoghurt dressing and the marinated lamb pieces, and I love the way the spicy, crispy lamb is offset by the soft eggplant (although the eggplant is slightly oily). My partner's sirloin isn't as well cooked as he likes but he still tucks into it with gusto.
Their dessert list only has 3 items: tiramisu with fresh strawberries ($10), vanilla bean panna cotta with mixed berry compote ($10) and chocolate marquise with chocolate gelato ($12). There's not much choice, but we are too full to eat dessert anyway, so decide to just try them next time.
Overall, we recommend this place for your next family/friends/date night out as it has a relaxed, cozy atmosphere, beautiful surroundings (especially when the weather's nice) and the food is much improved.