It was one of those days — dripping with rain, no parking, traffic snarls. So when I settled in at The Montague Hotel I was pleased to find it snug – industrial but snug.

Copper gleamed and rugs warmed the floor. Warm lights hang low. The furniture is mid-century modern and comfortable looking. Hayley, the mostess hostess, welcomes me and tells me a little more ¬ the seating outside has lots of heaters for the cooler weather, and staff are instructed to keep an eye on the ambience. Today is quiet but it is busy on the weekends — no wonder, the Montague is in the heart of many new highrise developments on Montague Road. There is live music Wednesday to Saturday nights and from 2pm on Sundays. If you are planning a lazy brunch get there early ¬ they have food all day and cater to children. There, I think I have covered all the basics.

For some reason, wishful thinking probably, I peruse the wine list first. Aside from versatile wines on tap, there is an

impressive array of Australian, local (good to see a Sirromet wine there) and New Zealand wines. I was impressed because they have a Tempranillo (South Australian) and that is a red I love to drink, but is often ignored. Alas, it is too early for me. So, food time. Because I am flying solo, one meal is my limit. I bypass the burgers — which sound delicious. The usual pub grub — schnitzels, fish’n’chips, pizza, breads and dips — are on offer too. They also have a superfoods menu — these sound amazingly healthy: wraps, pasta, salads. All super tempting, but it has been a long and cold day and so I settle for a “board”.

When the wooden paddle arrived I realise I have been lied to — it is not a platter for one, it is truly a platter for two. On board were three generous piles of American-influenced nibbles. The pickles came dipped in a thick beer batter. I have had loads of fried pickles — in the US they are usually done in cornmeal — so the batter was an Aussie twist. The chipotle sauce was smoky

and zingy. The deep friend haloumi had a generous dash of paprika in its coating and was served with a lemon wedge. The lemon gives the slices a “Greek” edge. I left my favourite of the trio until last. The buffalo wings came with a blue cheese dip/dressing. And, with a nod to greenness, a couple of celery sticks. I could manage only two of the wings. This board is a serious challenge to the solo diner.

The dessert menu tempts with sundaes and parfaits, apple and rhubarb pie. On a Sunday why not have the hot Belgian waffles for brunch? For those without a sweet tooth — I have been told such people exist — they offer a cheese platter for two with all the trimmings. Children also have plenty to choose from with chicken nuggets, fish and chips, spaghetti bolognaise etcetera.
The Montague Hotel’s new eatery is a family friendly place. It is popular so be sure to make a booking.