Originally this place ended up higher on my "to visit list" after having a great experience at The Station Hotel in Footscray as the Wayside Inn is managed by the same group. When I started following them on Twitter, I frequently would be left salivating on Friday with their tweets about the suckling pig that is fresh off the roast every Friday so it is no surprise that is when I found myself grabbing a stool at the bar with one other, ordering a bottle of Bright Road Pilsner ($9) (from the equally good and relaxed Bright Road Brewery in Beechworth) and greedily ordering suckling pig ($38) before the first bottle of beer was vacated.
There is a dining room, an area on the roof (which can be booked for functions) along with tables scattered around the perimeter of the bar area and outside so there is no shortage of seating despite it being lunch with the corporate types jostling for position. Service remained very attentive and cheeky, which reminded me of my old local in Sydney, the Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel. There is no obnoxious music playing, only the purr of pleasant conversation and on occasion the loud rumble of a motorbike that goes past.
The slaughtered young pig arrived and just looking at it I knew that the kitchen got it right. The meat was not only tender but pale and the skin was crisp. Not crunchy crisp, and along with the great texture of the meat which was gelatinous, made for a wonderful match for the pilsner. Executive Chef Sean Donovan has put together an exciting menu that includes Sher Wagyu from Ballan, Victoria, and grass fed Black Angus from O'Connor, Gippsland Victoria. There is a different "Rotissoire du Jour" so you are not limited to just ordering sucking pig on Friday, where other options include rabbit, lamb, chicken, duck and sirloin.
Besides the food and the impressive selection of craft beers, this pub is catering to locals and given I am one, just barely, I am going to start wandering down weekly just to take advantage of the free pot of beer provided you sign up for the footy tipping competition ($50) which is the bait to get you on site to place your tips. With all of the options for suitable hydration on offer, I doubt I will be limiting myself to the one pot and after nearly a year living in Melbourne, I think I finally found a pub to call my second home.
446 City Rd., South Melbourne VIC 3205
My Rating: 14.50/20
Value For Money: 3.75/5
e-mail: epicureanofsouthbank (at) gmail (dot) com
At the time of this post, 89% of the reviewers on Urbanspoon like the Wayside Inn.