Healsville Ho­tel

In the Yarra Val­ley, they’re tak­ing the coun­try pub ex­pe­ri­ence up a notch

Time Out (Melbourne) - - INSIDE -

GIVEN MEL­BOURNE IS rich in pubs, it’s a big call to sug­gest any wa­ter­ing hole is worth driv­ing an hour out of the city to visit. But the Healesville Ho­tel in the Yarra Val­ley war­rants the travel time. It’s also just a short drive away from some of the best winer­ies in the re­gion. The sprawl­ing pub, split into a pub­lic bar, din­ing room and gar­den area, has an olde-worlde coun­try charm. In win­ter, you can draw wicker chairs up to the fire­place, but when the weather’s more for­giv­ing the gar­den has the best seats in the house; in the out­door kitchen gar­den you can let the kids run around through the lemon trees and herb bushes while the grown ups knock back a pint or two. Week­end bar­be­cues at the Healesville Ho­tel run from sum­mer un­til au­tumn, and the smell of ribs, grilled chicken, and if you’re lucky, a whole hog, wafts through the en­tire pub when the coals are fired up. Among the year-round high­lights is the 12-hour slow roasted lamb shoul­der – a for­mi­da­ble hunk of fall-apart meat which on our visit was served with a side of roasted swedes and a bright green spinach and co­conut curry sauce that tastes like a mild Thai green curry. Next to the pub’s side door is the Healesville Har­vest café owned by the same pro­pri­etors, while the Kitchen and Butcher spe­cial­ity gro­cer is a great spot to scout coun­try pro­duce rang­ing from roast­ing meats from lo­cal farms to spice rubs and lo­cally made sauces to bring back to the big smoke. They’ll tide you over un­til your next visit. De­lima Shanti

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