The dining room at the Kalamunda Hotel, with its fire place, dark wood, red patterned carpet is evocative of its history – built in 1902 the original building is now the bottle shop while the adjoining “new” hotel was completed in 1928 – owned, interestingly enough in the week of the race, by the owner of Blue Spec an early winner of the Melbourne Cup (1905). It is an attractive room.
Out the front is seating under cover, however when we dropped by an unexpected November storm made the interior a little more to our liking.
The menu is relatively limited, pretty much what you would expect of a WA country pub – although it is not that far from the CBD. It covers steaks, burgers, chicken parma, lamb shanks, fish and chips – nothing too adventurous.
The wine list is even more limited – surprising really as the pub is now owned by Woolies and has a BWS next door – a better array of wine should be possible – no Riesling for example, and too much NZ Sauvignon Blanc. Ah well….
Anyway we decided to share a plate of squid – grilled with a sprinkling of 5 spice providing an aromatic and mildly spicy flavour – certainly the Star Anise was predominant. The squid was tender and the chopped salad of cabbage, carrot, onion and greens pleasant and fresh. A small bowl of tartare sauce added a little creaminess to the dish.
We both went for the fish and chips – and both for grilled rather than fried. Two fillets sat on a scattering of fresh salad, a cheek of lemon, and chips. The fish had perhaps spent a little too long under the grill, with the edges quite crisped, but despite that it was tender and moist. A pleasant enough dish.
With our food we ordered one of the better wines on the list – Deep Woods delicious 2015 rosé – made from shiraz and tempranillo it is light pink, with strawberry and violet aromas, raspberry flavours, quite dry and with a crisp, long finish – a lovely wine.
The Kalamunda is an attractive looking heritage listed hotel – it has the potential to be so much more than it is – however as a country pub it probably hits its target market – I would prefer it to build on its potential – a better and more expansive menu and certainly a better drinks list. However it is certainly worth a visit, with those qualifiers in mind. I should mention also the charming and friendly waiters.