I WAS a bit miffed when the Flying Scotsman in Mt Lawley closed down in 2020, as it was a classic old-school boozer that did a mean steak night.
It was always busy and fared well, but apparently there was a stoush over the lease and it all ended acrimoniously.
Anyway, as Ronan Keating said “Life is a rollercoaster” and we must accept the cuilnary ups and downs and move on.
After lying fallow for a couple of years, the old Flying Scotsman was extensively refurbished and opened as The Elford this month.
The pub is owned by the same people who did The Stables, The Reveley and The Camfield, so I was accepting a swish affair with plenty of cash behind it.
The interior didn’t disappoint – restrained and classy with muted colours, dimmed art-deco style lighting, and natural wood and stone tabletops.
The subdued lighting made it very cosy with almost an intimate jazz-bar feel, despite being very large and spacious with huge windows.
There was also a nice alfresco where you could watch the lively comings and goings on Beaufort Street.
The menu was pretty small with a sophisticated take on pub classics, as well as pizzas, sides, desserts and a range of share plates like Katsu Crumbed Pork Slider, Kimchi and Tofu Crispy Wontons, and Chargrilled Local Octopus.
I fancied a steak but it was $42 for the 300g Stirling Ranges Scotch Fillet, and that was before you added a side. In fact most of the mains were $30 or more. I plumped for a pub classic – the chicken schnitzel ($26).
I can hear you groaning “How boring”, but this was actually a deconstructed, uber sophisticated parmi with no chips – a bit like Noel Coward eating a Happy Meal.
The generous slab of breadcrumbed chook was accompanied by a seperate arrabbiata sauce and a mound of Italian slaw.
The cheese came in the form of a fine layer of shaved parmesan.
All very interesting and post-modern, but did it taste any good?
The salad was a refreshing delight with red cabbage, rocket, radish and a very light Italian-style dressing.
The secret weapon in the salad was the odd caper, which added a lovely piquant bite.
The chicken was succulent with a nice crispy coating, and the arrabbiata sauce had a subtle heat.
An intriguing dish which, despite my initial concerns, was very filling.
Across the table, my wife was enjoying her Beetroot and Ricotta Gnocchi ($30) which was a colourful and beautifully presented dish.
“I love the contrast in texture between the soft, velvety gnocchi and the toasted macadamias,” she said.
“The beetroot flavour isn’t overpowering and goes well with the stracciatella and the Tuscan kale (cavolo nero).
“Overall it’s a delicious and lovely presented dish.”
Ou kids were busy tucking into their 6” Margherita pizza and cheese burger and chips (both $10) from the small children’s menu (three dishes).
My daughter’s cheeseburger was a bit on the small side, even for a kid’s portion, but they wolfed it all down with no complaints, and the pizza looked delicious.
The service was great throughout with lots of smiles and chat from the super attentive staff, who seemed to be constantly hovering beside the table to top-up your water, like Gen Z versions of Gunga Din.
I enjoyed my meal at The Elford, it’s a stylish affair with good service and food, but maybe they could expand the menu and include some cheaper mains.
By STEPHEN POLLOCK
639 Beaufort St, Mount Lawley