I’ve heard good things about the pub in Stanley, a small town about 10 minutes from Beechworth. These opinions are absolutely right – the Stanley pub serves excellent food in a comfortable atmosphere. The girlfriend and I had a booking for Easter Saturday lunch and the pub was full. Despite this, the service was consistently good.
We started lunch with house made bread and chilli chutney in olive oil, which was extremely moreish. The girlfriend wanted a couple of oysters, which were served with a vinegary onion dressing, and pronounced them to be good. She had a glint in her eye that hinted of trouble but patiently tolerated me taking photos before eating.
She’s obsessed with quail, and preferred the brined quail entree to a main. I ordered confit duck with lentils and beetroot chutney. The lentils contained caramelised onion and it was delicious. To make up for having only an entree, the girlfriend also ordered the truffled fries and witlof, fig and chevre salad.
She started with an oloroso sherry from Beechworth winery Pennyweight, then drank Beechworth cider (on tap) made by another local winery, Amulet, while I had a glass of the Mt Pilot cabernet sauvignon from nearby Eldorado. The wine list is mostly good, but the only sparkling by the glass is French and the only pinot noir by the glass is from New Zealand. In the midst of a quality wine region that does plenty of pinot, this seems shortsighted and a missed opportunity to offer an entirely local list.
When our desserts arrived the girlfriend announced that this food blogger caper is a bit boring, and that the photos would be better with some cleavage. She rejected the first photo I took of her dessert and demanded I do another with her in the background.
So I’m pleased to introduce something new to food blogging photos. Below is the girlfriend’s decolletage with chocolate and chestnut pudding with bitter chocolate brownie and chocolate ice-cream. There will be more. My rhubarb and buttermilk ricotta tart with pomegranate sauce was amazing, tart and delicious.
The quince poacher and Deep dish dreams also love the Stanley as their 2011 reviews demonstrate. While she seemed to like the food, the service has definitely improved since The brewer’s wife described it as ‘harried’ in 2010, but the Stanley evidently had some issues to overcome that year.
Eating at the Stanley is a pleasure. I enjoyed it more than a dinner at Green Shed in Beechworth (review forthcoming). Like the Plough Inn at Tarrawingee, the Stanley is a small town pub that is worth seeking out if you’re in the area or passing through. While you can eat well for days by walking no more than 100 metres from your hotel in central Beechworth, making more effort to explore the area will be rewarded.