“We’ve always called ourselves amateur publicans,” says Alison Whyte, the co-owner of new vegetarian pub Green Man’s Arms. “I mean, I’m an actor and Fred’s a teacher,” she says, referring to her husband and business partner Fred Whitlock.
Green Man’s Arms is the fifth hotel venture for Whyte and Whitlock, who previously owned and operated The Terminus in Abbotsford and Yarra Valley Grand. Their new meat-free pub has taken up residence on the corner of Lygon and Elgin Street in Carlton.
“We’ve had a few people leave after they discovered we don’t serve parmas or steaks, but for the people giving it a go, we’re hearing great feedback,” Whyte says. “The dishes are so wholesome … it doesn’t feel pretentious.”
Israeli-born head chef David Raziel’s menu is entirely vegetarian and vegan, with several salads and Israel staples such as tabbouleh and house-made falafel and hummus.
“Our house made cous cous is extraordinary. It’s light and soft and it doesn’t taste like any other cous cous I’ve tried,” says Whitlock. “[Razeil] uses a technique he was brought up with to make it completely from scratch, blending it with his hands in a circular motion until the little balls form.”
As much as possible, ingredients come from Whyte and Whitlock’s 10-acre property in the Yarra Valley.
There are seven beers on tap, including Stomping Ground saison and Mornington Peninsula Brewery brown ale. There’s an extra hand pump for Holgate’s ESB. Bucha of Byron kombucha is also on tap – Whitlock says it’s best served with a wedge of lime, but you can also get it souped up in a Kombucha Spritz cocktail.
Green Man’s Arms occupies the site formerly home to Percy’s Bistro and The Astor, where The Roving Marrow once operated. A refurbishment has given the space a charming and worn-in retro feel, with parquetry floors, timber wall panelling, tan leather sofas, green leafy wallpaper from England and wonky antique light fixtures from Grandfather’s Axe in Northcote.
“If you were a regular at The Termi, you’ll see we’ve revived a lot of our magnificent and kooky art collection up on the walls,” says Whitlock.
“We like to do the design ourselves,” Whyte adds. This means Australian timbers and an old Yunca fireplace that matches the pre-existing burgundy tiles. “We wanted something that had some texture, age and mystery.”
The couple’s extensive background in the arts means Green Man’s Arms will be more than a dining room, with plans for live music and readings, alongside trivia and bingo.
“What we love about pubs is that they’re a place where people can come together, feel at home and we’re all on common ground,” says Whyte. “That’s the environment we’re going for here.”
Green Man’s Arms
418 Lygon Street, Carlton
(03) 9347 7419
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