Writing for pleasure to showcase the best Australia has on offer.
Published September 24th 2014
Country Style atmosphere, hospitality & great counter meals
With the introduction of tighter penalties for drink drivers a few years ago, small country pubs found the traditional Aussie Friday afternoon "catch up with the mates" became less eventful and this led to the necessity of the bottle shop becoming a popular alternative. Publicans needed to become more creative in their ideas if they were to entice their once frequent customers back to the bar. And that's why when I'm out driving I try to call into country pubs for lunch or dinner or a cool drink on a hot day.
Drayton in a small town on the south-west side of Toowoomba and in the 2011 Australian Census Drayton recorded a population of 1609 people. Drayton was the first substantial settlement on the Darling Downs initially being settled in 1842. However, in the 1860s when Toowoomba expanded more rapidly the centre of population shifted there and Drayton is now more favourably known as a suburb.
New Managers, Anne-Maree Phipps and Master Chef James Davidson Walker took over the running of the Drayton Tavern on the Monday 15 September. James has 30 years' experience working in Scotland spending 12 of those at Edinburgh's Prestonfield House, one of Scotland's most exclusive Hotels. Before immigrating to Australia in 2002, he was the executive Chef at Livingston Soccer Club for six years. James holds the letters M.C.F.A (Master Chef of the Food and Cooking Association) and is a member of the Federation of Chefs of Scotland.
You may ask why he has decided to work at a country pub. After working for 10 months at The Shamrock Hotel in Toowoomba and before that at the Whitsunday International Hotel in Mackay, James wanted to see something grow from a small seed to a blossoming bush and he felt the Drayton Tavern had potential to do just that. Along with Anne-Maree who also worked at The Shamrock Hotel in Toowoomba, the hotel is already taking on a fresher look.
Refreshed Dining Room entices the patron to take a seat
With the vision that the Drayton Tavern is a working man's pub, a new menu with prices ranging from $8.50 for a Cheese Burger and Chips to $14.50 for Seafood Basket, Chips and Salad is offered. My choice would have to be Curried Beef Sausages and Rice, which was a favourite of mine when I was young. I noticed Lambs Fry and Bacon accompanied by mashed potato and vegetables was also on the menu and although it definitely isn't a choice of mine, it is a favourite of the older generation. James said the menu would be developed over time and feedback was welcome so other options can be provided.
Have a social game or join the competition starting soon at the Drayton Tavern
Combined Anne-Maree and James have some great ideas to bring the country life back into the Drayton Tavern. Friday night raffles have recommenced with two very large fruit and meat trays to be won. As the hotel already has two large Billiard style tables, competition nights of Billiards and Pool, along with Darts is soon to be organised. Hopefully in the not too distant future, singing and guitar artists and/or country social nights will commence on Fridays.
Enjoy a beer on the outside verandahs with the Historic Royal Bulls Head Inn across the road
Coming up Anne-Maree is organising a Melbourne Cup Luncheon and although the hotel does not have a TAB, Calcutta will be run for patrons and a glass of bubbly given of arrival. While I was talking to Anne-Maree she took a large group booking for 20 people. One thing that is extremely important at any public place and especially for large groups of people is a clean toilet/washroom and I can say the Drayton Tavernhas one of the cleanest toilets/washrooms of any country hotel I have visited recently.