The Carringbush Hotel
Menu - Mr Yum
The Carringbush Hotel, which first opened in 1889 as the Friendly Societies Hotel, isn’t your average pub. There isn’t a chicken parmigiana nor a hearty beef pie in sight here. Instead, the morning-to-night menu is entirely meat-free with a heap of vegan options, too.
Liam Matthews, Joel Morrison and Singa Unlayati (also behind Fitzroy live music stalwart the Old Bar) reopened the Abbotsford venue in 2019. The pub is a warren of small rooms with an open-plan contemporary bar, bare brick walls and indoor greenery. Its original floorboards line the space, and bi-fold doors lead to a courtyard that sits just below the train line.
It still feels like a classic pub, only more open and airy. There are three working fireplaces for the winter months, and you’ll find plenty of Old Bar influence here and there – the trio’s good friend and Melbourne quartet Deaf Wish’s guitarist Jensen Tjhung built the massive, metre-deep horseshoe wooden bar punters see the moment they walk in.
As for the food, it’s cut out the meat without cutting the comfort of pub fare. Bring a group and start with plenty of bar snacks such as char siu dumplings with imitation pork, mushrooms and sweet and sour sauce, or bao with mock duck, pickled vegetables and Sriracha mayo.
More filling is the fragrant miso ramen with fried bean curd and oyster mushrooms; the hearty lasagne with house-made pasta; and the whole roasted cauliflower rubbed with ras el hanout (a Moroccan spice blend) and drizzled in tahini yoghurt.
If you’re around earlier, this standout pub also has a breakfast menu, which features a hulking breakfast burger with imitation bacon and American cheddar, or spicy corn fritters with smashed avo and herbs. It’s licenced from early in the day, meaning you can enjoy your breakfast alongside a Bloody Mary or Mimosa, or there are brews from Padre Coffee.
The taps here hold a killer selection of local brews, with dozens of beers on rotation. The brief: hyperlocal. That includes Stomping Ground, which is brewed barely a 15-minute walk away. Hazy IPAs, sours and tropical pale ales all make appearances. Some of the wine comes courtesy of taps, too, as part of an effort by the team to reduce the use of packaged products. You’ll find drops from Noisy Ritual and Konpira Maru.
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