What was strange about this place was that when we first entered this pub/hotel/restaurant, there was were absolutely nobody else eating or drinking. A virtual wasteland of empty tables and of course a bar and when I was approached by a member of staff my first query was whether or not they were in fact open for service. When he responded "yes" and let us choose a table, I wondered why there was nobody else in this place.
I ordered a pint of Porter as I thought that would accompany the "steak and kidney" pie quite well. My dining companion would ultimately enjoy bottle of cider and the "clubhouse" sandwich. It is always awkward having the only occupied table in a restaurant as I always think that the chef and kitchen staff will become annoyed that they have to do something. The "clubhouse" sandwich was prepared quickly and placed within sight under the heat lamp whilst presumably the pie was prepared. After the sandwich enjoyed getting its fake tan for about fifteen minutes and we watched the tumbleweed blow past, service brought out the food. I was advised that the "clubhouse" sandwich was quite dry. I wouldn't have thought fifteen minutes under the lights in the kitchen would have made that much of a difference but I could be wrong. the "steak and kidney" pie was rather underwhelming and it left a metallic taste in my mouth. With the single round of alcohol the total bill came to $70, which I thought was really excessive for what we got and given that the experience lasted just under an hour which would have been a choice regardless of whether I had a meeting or not.
With the abundance of choice in the immediate area, I can think of at least ten other places that I would be happy to return to in the future and not feel annoyed that I ultimately had to part with money for minimal enjoyment. In future I may just visit on the weekends or evening where you can enjoy many different offerings of the James Squire range before heading elsewhere for nourishment.
115-127 Russell St., Melbourne VIC 3000
My Rating: 10/20
Value For Money: 2/5
e-mail: epicureanofsouthbank (at) gmail (dot) com
When I made this post originally, 64% of the reviewers on Urbanspoon like the Portland Hotel.