Sometimes all I crave is a no-fuss pub meal. No fancy surroundings, hovering waiters or carefully crafted menu’s; just a choice of regular pub grub on a laminated A4 print-out or scribed up on a chalk board.
Once upon a time Bunnings at Mascot was my favourite place to hang on the weekend. It was mainly during the house and backyard renovation or to pick up plants for the garden. Walking the aisles, checking the hardwares, looking like a true handyman. All that was missing was a pair of KingGee’s and an exposed builders crack. As all Aussies and Kiwi’s know the only food at Bunnings is the charity sausage sizzle out the front but on one particular visit it just wasn’t enough. I needed something gutsy, preferably with schooners of tap beer to wash it down.
Although I’d never been there, I knew the Newmarket Hotel was nearby, some ten minutes walk up Gardeners Road. The pub seems to be a local hotspot thanks to its sports bar and TAB facilities and seeing neither of us was there for either of those activities, it was straight out the back beer garden to suss out the menu and grab a quick lunch. The menu won’t win any awards but that’s the beauty of it. Schnitzel, pizza, steak; even your typical deep-fried kids menu.
The other half wasn’t all that hungry and settles on the tasting plate (24). A choice of three things from the “shared plates” menu – chorizo with marinated olives, arancini, southern fried chicken strips, calamari or grilled haloumi. The haloumi came with a rocket and hazelnut salad and loads of tartare with the squid. Not bad. Chunky beef & red wine pie (14) was just the ticket for me. Great stuff. Really great stuff. Massive chunks of tender meat, flakey pastry, smashed peas & mash and an awesome gravy that wouldn’t have taken too much effort to mix up.
The specials board teased me with a honey ginger crème brûlée (8), rather large in size (not complaining) and poached pears & ice cream on the side. Of course it was ordered and of course I waddled out, content and a little pissed from all the beer. Now, where are my power tools!