333 Barkly Street, Footscray
(Corner of Geelong Rd & Barkly St)
(03) 9687 2878
I’ve been driving past this place for seven years, and never once desired to try it. Tuesday night parma and pot for $10, Candy the Clown on Sundays. No thanks. Then about a year ago the place shut down with a promise on the takeaway blackboard that they would reopen “soon”. Finally a couple of months ago there were signs of life, a new coat of paint outside, hints of cool new lighting inside. The Plough was back.
One rainy Thursday night about month after their grand opening, we wrapped up warm and ventured out. The parking is limited around this part of Footscray but we found a spot beside Mitre 10 on the Prince’s Highway (their car park takes about a dozen cars).
Inside, the bistro area was busy enough, with people perched on bar stools drinking and eating at high tables. The pale wooden floors and modern bistro lighting invited us further in, to the restaurant where we were shown to a window table and offered a drink.
The menu was relatively short but there was plenty to choose from: I’d call it posh pub grub mostly, with a decent list of pizzas too. The drinks list has a respectable choice of beers, but as non-beer-drinkers we satisfied ourselves with a couple of glasses of red from the short but well-chosen wine list, and some Mount Gay rum for my dining companion, served straight up with no mistakes (unusual in this town).
For starters we chose a plate of “sticky buffalo wings” to share. These were a little disappointing: well cooked for sure, but a little lacking in the crispy-roasted-skin department. Too pale and slippery for our liking.
For main course I was tempted by the fancy chicken parma (gypsy ham, mozzarella, beer batter chips) but we both opted for the burger: made from veal and heaped with caramelised onion, fresh tomato, a slice of good cheddar and a garlic aioli. The Plough is not too posh to offer tomato ketchup either. What a plateful of food. You need more than two hands to tackle the burger (I gave up, took the lid off and carved it up in the end) and the chips were plentiful and nicely cooked.
We certainly enjoyed our first experience at the Plough, and ventured back a few weeks later on a Friday night. We were recognised and greeted by our original waiter like old friends which was a nice touch. It was much busier that evening and they were doing a blistering trade.
Our starter was a shared plate of calamari with lime and chilli, which was perfect and not too huge a portion. Sadly our friendly waiter got my main course wrong – I was served another burger instead of a steak sandwich – but I wasn’t that fussed and didn’t bother having it changed. A complimentary glass of wine appeared by way of apology. Orlando’s Gippsland T-bone steak was perfectly cooked and generously proportioned. Another enjoyable evening that didn’t break the bank, we agreed.
By chance I noticed a couple of days later that we had actually been charged a little over $355 for our modest evening meal. We returned and a refund was arranged quickly and without fuss.
All in all, there are still a few rough edges to the service but none of it has put us off our new local eatery. We are looking forward to spring and summer when we can stroll down there of an evening – and I am looking forward to our next visit when I shall try their pizza.