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12 Oct 2017

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Montague’s local pub

Local publicans Rick and Andrew Gilbert have helped breathe life back into one of South Melbourne’s oldest pubs, the Golden Fleece Hotel.

Constructed on the prominent corner of Montague and Buckhurst streets in the 1870s, the iconic pub had sat idle for some years prior to its reopening in 2015.

Rick and son Andrew have form when it comes to operating historic pubs. Since 2005, Rick has owned the Peacock Hotel in Northcote, which was built in 1854.

Having learnt the trade from his father, Andrew has now applied his expertise at the Golden Fleece and together, the pair has quickly been able to identify what the community wants out of its local pub.

“This pub has been through a few different hands and no one has really pinpointed what the demographic has been screaming for,” Andrew said.

“It was pretty noticeable to us straight away what the local businesses, traders and residents wanted and together, by talking to a whole bunch of people, this is what we came up with.”

The pub’s traditional fit out with a modern twist provides a classy yet casual atmosphere for residents and, in particular, the area’s many business people and traders to enjoy a good quality meal in a relaxed local setting.

As of last month, the pub has recently launched its “Breakfast on Buckhurst” menu between Monday and Friday which, according to Andrew, was largely in response to demand from local businesses.

“I noticed that nothing really stood out for breakfast in the area and there are lots of people that have breakfast meetings, which nowadays is a massive thing,” he said.

“It was purely done so that the businesses had somewhere to go and pick up a good quality coffee without having to wait on the street. You can now come inside and sit down and relax while we take your order.”

From 7am, customers can now grab a muffin, toasted sandwich or croissant to go, or sit down and enjoy a meeting or catch up over a delicious serve of smashed avocado, eggs benedict, Bircher muesli or even a full English breakfast!

Seven days a week from 11am, locals can also enjoy a delicious lunch or dinner with a range of quality pub classics or something from the gourmet a la carte menu.

Andrew said its seasonal and affordable menu offered a host of quality dishes many wouldn’t normally expect to find at a local pub, such as pan-seared salmon, gnocchi or confit duck leg.

And for those who don’t want a full meal, the menu also features a range of light tapas dishes to share amongst friends or colleagues over drinks. The pub also hosts weekly meal specials, as well as live music and sports on weekends.

Located in the heart of the Montague precinct, Andrew said he looked forward to the Golden Fleece becoming the local meeting place for the future community as the area underwent major urban renewal.

“We’d been looking for a little while for something that would be ideal for us to take on,” he said. “An area like this right next to the city and the beach, there is no reason why this area won’t get developed. So I understood that.”

“We’ve got a great crew. We all enjoy working here,” he said. “We’ve got some good regulars now and everyone has a good time so we’re loving it.”

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