While I’m generally not much of a pub-going person I do like visiting country pubs that specialise in serving up great meals.
The Plough Inn in Tarrawingee (20 minutes out of Beechworth) debuted in the 2013 Age Good Food Guide with a 14/20 score and it’s the kind of place that you would happily drive especially to visit (particularly if you have kids).
We were invited to try lunch at The Plough Inn thanks to Tourism North East. Ales have been served at the historic wayside inn since 1864 but the menu now is very much Modern Australia with a focus on showcasing local produce. It’s a gastropub in the middle of nowhere with a surprisingly sophisticated kitchen – though if you’re after a parma or burger the bar menu caters to those tastes too.
To start, we shared the Chef’s tasting plate for two ($30). My favourite was the the beetroot cured Atlantic salmon, particularly the interesting colour and textural elements in the form of the pickled baby beetroot and orange jelly.
For mains RM tried the roast rump of Rutherglen lamb with spring vegetables and orange onion jam ($29). The lamb was a little overcooked for his liking but otherwise beautifully presented with an unusual combination of flavours as citrus isn’t often served with red meat.
I ordered the free range duck leg cooked two ways with braised leeks, confit potato and black eyed bean salsa ($29). Again the duck leg was a little overcooked and dry but the parcel of minced duck meat was juicy. The dish was again generously proportioned and I particularly liked the sweetness of the leeks.
Our dessert was the Stanley apple crumble tart with poached rhubarb and vanilla ice cream ($15). The pie had a crumbly and short pie crust and inside was nestled big chunks of braised apple. The rhubarb encircled the tart, alternating poached slices with dots of rhubarb jelly. It was an imaginative rendition of a classic dessert.
The Plough Inn served families particularly well when the weather’s good because they have built a cubbyhouse and play area out the back – the kids can run riot while you sit under the shaded terrace and enjoy your lunch. They are large buckets of toys and books to rifle through even if the weather’s inclement.
Our only complaint was that the food was rather slow in coming, which became stressful after a while because the kids were getting fractious.
I would definitely recommend a visit to The Plough Inn with or without kids – but if you are on a timeframe you should let the friendly staff know from the outset and it won’t lead to any stressful exits or indigestion!
The Plough Inn, 2322 Beechworth-Wangaratta Rd, Tarrawingee 03 5725 1609