Pub grub has certainly come a long way and San Telmo group’s latest acquisition, Aviary Hotel in Abbotsford, has plenty to offer. It’s been around for over ten years, but after a much-needed refurb and change of ownership it’s got big plans for the future.
Following the Argentine ethos that eating, drinking and life are to be enjoyed with friends, family and lovers, Aviary Hotel is Aussie pub meets Latin American cuisine. It’s a hideaway from busy Victoria Street and as we head into spring, the beer garden out the back has an open roof for pub-goers to enjoy a pint in the sun.
The staff are friendly and willing to help you through the menu. Lunchtime sees many local office workers stopping in for a quick bite, but also those with a book in hand and a glass of wine in the other while they enjoy their surroundings.
Aviary Hotel manager Mihir Mason says even though the menu is focused on chargrilled meat, vegetarians and vegans are often surprised at the amount of options available to them.
“These days, there’s almost a dietary requirement on every table, so our chefs have designed a menu that is very accommodating to all needs,” Mason says.
For those new to Latin American food, Aviary Hotel is a good place to dip your toe in. The dishes are adventurous for those willing to try them but with standard pub food options for those who are just after a classic parma or burger.
If you’re a sucker for a good steak, you have to try O’Connors 280g Hangar Steak and at $26, it won’t break the bank. It’s succulent and juicy with just enough salt and comes with a celeriac salad which pairs nicely. Washed down with a Whisky Sour Stout, it’s the perfect treat for your Friday lunch.
The menu is designed for sharing and a few highlights include the Grilled Chorizo Salad, Charcoal Grilled Prawns and the Heirloom Chard Carrots. Vegetarians will particularly enjoy the heirloom carrots, which come with crispy pieces of kale in a beautiful yoghurt sauce. Make sure you also order a side of Herb Crush Potatoes which goes well with the Hangar Steak or the Grilled Eggplant Steak.
Malbec is a widely-grown grape in Argentina and it pairs well with grilled or barbeque meats due to its rich and spicy personality. Aviary Hotel’s wine list features Malbec as well as a few other South American wines to go with your meal or simply to share with friends.
During the week, Aviary Hotel does happy hour from 4pm-6pm including cheap house wines and tap beers – make sure you try the Modus IPA before it runs out! There are also food deals that rotate each night of the week which includes a drink.
On Saturdays they run an extended happy hour from 12pm to 6pm, so it’s the perfect place to get your friends together on the weekend. There’s two for one espresso martinis, $18 cocktail jugs and $14 jugs of beer to get you through the day.
Event Coordinator Olivia Kranz says it’s not unusual to see the bar lined up with espresso martinis, especially as the time creeps closer to the end of happy hour.
September is always a busy month for the hospitality industry with the AFL Grand Final and Aviary Hotel is doing a $65 all-inclusive package for the game. For the duration of the game this includes unlimited tap beers, house wines and a burger in their upstairs function room. There’ll also be a big screen TV, so you don’t miss a second of the action. Make sure you book tickets on their website.
To tide you over until the Grand Final, head to Aviary Hotel on Tuesday nights at 7.30pm for its weekly trivia night, hosted by the hilarious drag queen Tina. So get your friends together but make sure you book a table in advance.
Aviary Hotel is also hosting Oktoberfest on Saturday October 12 and there’s plenty of other events planned in the coming months. Make sure you follow them on all socials to keep up with the latest events and promotions.
Aviary Hotel is located at 271 Victoria Street, Abbotsford and is open from 4pm-1am Monday to Thursday and 12pm-1am Friday to Sunday. To make a reservation or see the full menu, head to aviaryhotel.com.au or call 03 9428 7727 to book a table for trivia night.