Healesville Hotel is a cosy, historical gastropub in picturesque Healesville Yarra Valley. It’s a great destination for family dining because the kitchen opens from 12 midday and doesn’t close till late, which means it’s possible to eat dinner at family-friendly hours – in our case, 5pm.
Healesville Hotel’s menu reflects the seasonality and availability of local produce and in fact it owns the K&B Butcher local providores next door. As befits a great pub meal the portions are enormous, so I highly recommend foregoing starters and jumping straight to mains – and perhaps even sharing a main if you’re planning on dessert.
To whit, T’s beef short ribs is two huge hunks of braised meat on the bone atop a ladleful of sweet potato mash and a large fluffy Yorkshire pud on the side ($32).
My smoked fish pie is a pot pie brimming with fish, a swirl of creamed potato and a tangy fennel and parsley salad ($28).
The junior menu include steak, sausages, penne, fish fingers, chips and is definitely pricey given the portions and quality ($12.50-$14.50). The steak is minute and three quarters of the plate is covered in chips so next time I think kids will share our mains instead.
The white chocolate, rhubarb and vanilla Bombe Alaska is definitely a sharing dessert ($18) – three adults (or two adults two kids) will still receive a substantial portion. I found the proportion of meringue too heavy for the quantity of ice cream and sponge inside, but otherwise it’s pretty hard not to like a bombe alaska.
There are high chairs available and kids are welcome though the front room is quite squashy for prams and the room with the open fireplace may be better if you’re happy to share a communal table. There is also an outside area with plastic cafe blinds for warmer days. You can make a booking for the stylish dining room but it is a more formal atmosphere with the same menu.
While the prices means that Healesville Hotel is not your everyday destination, there are lots of features which make it an appealing place for families.
- pram access though steps at front and space in front room is tight;
- high chairs;
- children’s menu;
- standard menu suitable for children;
- crayons and paper; and
- free 1 hour street parking on Maroondah Highway from 6pm or Coles carpark nearby.