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Published September 7th 2015
Quality Pub Fare of the Highest Standard
Kelly's Hotel stands prominently on the corner of the main drag in Cranbourne. It looks like it's being a well frequented pub for a really long time. It is indeed a 4th generation hotel dating right back to the early 1900s.
Could you resist?
In 1917, Arthur T Kelly purchased the (previously named) Mornington Hotel now known as Kelly's Motor Club Hotel. In the last century you had to be considered a "bona fide traveller" to get a beer on a Sunday. To qualify you needed to travel a certain distance from Melbourne, therefore this became a bit of a meeting point. A local driving circuit started and finished at the pub.
After serving with the R.A.A.F, Thomas Arthur Kelly (Arthur's son), returned to take over as publican. He managed the hotel for 30 years with his wife Betty. Tom and Betty had two children, Margaret and Arthur, and with Margaret's husband, Alan Stocks and Arthur's wife Carol, have successfully transformed Kelly's into the busy and popular hotel it is today.
These days, Kelly's is still a stunning heritage style on the outside but renovated and modern on the inside. It's bright and inviting with red comfy couches and accessories. Kelly's now have senior specials, pokies, a bottle shop and they cater for functions.
If you are looking for food you will need to make your way through the lounge or past the pokies room through to the bistro at the back. Kelly's can get pretty busy so it's advisable to make a booking first.
Now that's a lemon meringue!
There's plenty on the menu and on the specials board that's right near the dessert bar. Personally, I think this is a crazy place to put the specials because you might be lured by the dazzling desserts and never get to have a main meal. I swear they were about 15cm tall and it took all my self-control to resist purchasing a sweet treat. I didn't even bother looking at the prices – they sell themselves at any cost.
According to a local, Kelly's Hotel kitchen is popular throughout the area and renowned for high quality pub fare. The meals are generous and tasty. I ordered an entrée size of aranchini and to my surprise it came out with six of them! I loved the trio selection of dips. These included beetroot, tomato and tzakiki. It was served on a salad. I wondered how big this would be if it was the main meal.
Delicious aranchini with a trio of dips
My friend had a lunch sized seafood platter. It included pieces of fish, lots of tender calamari, scallops, prawns, chips and salad for $26. The dinner serve of seafood combination platter is
44.90. It includes King George whiting, barramundi fillets, garlic prawns, salt and& pepper squid, battered tiger prawns, bay scallops, Tasmanian smoked salmon, cold prawn cutlets and… that's not all. It also features Coffin Bay oysters with beer battered chips, house-made tartare sauce and lemon wedges.
To give you an idea of the pricing, a Caesar salad starts at $20.90, Oven baked lasagna is from $20.90 or chicken breast schnitzel $24.90.
The mixed sliders are very popular and these are also $20.90. This is a tasty assortment of three burgers. The fillings include pulled pork with Cajun coleslaw, crispy chicken with aioli and traditional Black Angus burger with bacon and tomato relish on mini burger buns served with beer battered fries. I was told by a regular in the queue not to be deceived, they may look mini but they are apparently very filling.
Part of the large dining room
Kelly's cater for over 2,500 people every week and have won several prestigious awards including the 2012 Aha National "Overall Hotel of The Year (Regional) and the 2014 AHA State Awards for Outstanding Community Service and Achievement. You'll have to visit to see for yourself why they are so highly acclaimed.
* Some information sourced from the hotel's website.