Saturday, 18 May 2013


48 Hoddle St, Abbotsford - ph: (03) 9417 3088

We found the Yorkshire Hotel when searching on Urbanspoon for the highest rated sports bars around Richmond.

The Yorkshire is very much in the style of The Grand in Burnley St.  It's a reasonably traditional pub with a gastronomically slanted menu that focuses on reinterpretation of classic pub favourites.  Unlike The Grand, however, there were few people there on a Saturday night, which we found puzzling at first.

View from the bar section
We weren't able to sit in the dining room as we needed a view of the TV, but it's fair to say that the holes in the roof, makeshift lighting and general lack of upkeep did not bode well.  

We went to the bar to order, but were confronted by the diner before us 'throwing his toys' at the publican, who apparently was so rude that he had inspired the customer to say 'stuff you, I'm not going to order any food then'.  I enquired what had happened, to which the staff were extremely sarcastic.

This lack of professionalism was a theme through the night.  My wife is heavily pregnant so everywhere we go, we ask the wait staff if there is anything we need to be concerned about in the dishes we are ordering.  100% of the the time (99% now) we get a very understanding response, followed by an informed rendition of whether the ordered dishes were suitable or not.  Where unsure, wait staff immediately refer to the kitchen.  

So I ordered a lamb stew and the missus was keen on the chicken pot au feu.  When I asked the waiter (who was part of the prior incident) if the chicken was safe for pregnancy, he responded with a look of disdain, 'How would I know, I'm not an expert on pregnant women'.  Trying to be helpful, I suggested he might want to ask the kitchen, 'Mate, I doubt they are experts on it either'.  Upon me insisting, he trudged off and came back with no concerns from the kitchen.  Not good.

Which is a shame, because the menu is very well constructed and tries to position the establishment as a gastropub.  The inconsistency with this aspiration, the tired premises, and genuinely bewilderingly rude staff is a puzzling combination.  Service is a key part of any dining experience, I don't think they understand this.  

Lamb stew with seasonal vegetables

Despite this, the lamb stew was pretty good, particularly for the price.  A nice stock with tender lamb pieces was complemented by reasonable vegetables.  It was very hearty and I couldn't find too much to complain about.

Onion rings
The onion rings were nice and light as far as onion rings go.

So after the dramas ordering the chicken, the same waiter brought it over with the description 'One pregnant safe chicken'.  The only problem with this was that once cut open, it was red and bloody on the inside.  Now I don't want to rant, but expectant parents are paranoid at the best of times, but serving slightly raw chicken when you know it's for a pregnant lady is seriously negligent and could have serious consequences.  Raw chicken and listeria go hand in hand, imagine the lawsuits....

So we sent it back and they cooked it a bit more.  On it's return, we were told by the same waiter that it's usually a little pink.  Not the point buddy, particularly given the 'One pregnant safe chicken' declaration.

I don't often slam places, particularly when my dish was pleasant, but I would avoid this place at all costs.  It pretends to be a gastropub, but it doesn't execute well at all in terms of front of house to kitchen communication and general desire to provide pleasant service.  When I walked in I wondered why it was virtually empty on a Saturday night, now I know.

Note the urbanspoon rating below.  We are huge fans of urbanspoon but here is proof again that high urbanspoon ratings do not always correlate with reality.  There have been a number of articles about how social media can be manipulated as a marketing tool recently, I don't know much about this but you do wonder sometimes.

Yorkshire Hotel on Urbanspoon


  1. Thats a bit of a shame. While it is over 12 months ago now, we had a good experience when we visited and the service was friendly. Most of the negative responses on Urbanspoon are recent - maybe there's been a turn for the worse?


  2. Just returned from OS and was quite surprised with this review - although Urbanspoon is a great guide for good food, I must say that we do take things a bit too extreme (especially when you have travelled to Asian countries). It is a bit of a shame, but I'm sure they have learnt by the mistakes, and I don't think there is a turn for the worst. Always give a place a 2nd chance, and then make a call.

  3. Hi Fil - I confess I was totally disappointed with the service during my visit, specially given all I had read about their 'great, friendly service' on Urbanspoon. Maybe they have changed ownership/ staff recently.

    Anonymous - don't thik I'll be giving it a 2nd chance. Melbourne's vibrant restaurant scene offers so many places to choose from, and so many cool venues popping up around that area all the time, that it is very hard to justify going back to a restaurant where you had a bad experience...

  4. Dear Steve W,
    I was the waiter involved in the 'incident' you mention above. I no longer work at the Yorkshire and despite the amount of time that has past I feel and have always felt your ridiculous review deserves a response. I would have posted something earlier but its unprofessional as a staff member to contradict people personal opinions regarding their experience as a guest.
    So Ill start at the start with your comment on 'makeshift lighting.' It's not makeshift lighting, that implies we were using some kind of replacement lighting, it was a light hanging from the middle of the room you were dining in, you can even see the light in your first photo and the other 'makeshift lighting' in the fireplace area are called lamps. They are quite common in restaurants pubs houses and dwellings worldwide.
    When you came to the bar and saw the other customer throwing his toys' what had actually happened was the customer didn't want to pay for an extra side dish on his meal despite it been clearly marked as such on the menu, he then lost his temper and was quite rude to the staff, we acted professionally and let him stay and watch his friends enjoy there meals, I even went to there table and started doing table service which is generally restricted to the restaurant.
    I don't know many restaurants that give away free food do you Steve? The profit margins are quite slim as Im sure you realize as an expert blogger and 'food critic'.
    What actually happened was that you had walked into the tail end of a conversation that had nothing to do with you but you felt the need to ask me what was happening. I answered in a general unspecific way trying to make a joke of the situation because it was none of your business. You may think you have the right as a 'critic' to question staff on the goings on of other diners but you do not. I wasn't sarcastic or rude I was trying to use humour to defuse a situation, you just didn't get it.
    Then I offered to take you order at your table as I had noticed your wife was pregnant. After I went to the toy thrower and apologised on behalf of my colleague for the incident at the bar. (Its standard practise in hospitality to swallow your pride in this way when you are dealing with a rude customer) I introduced myself to your table and you started questioning me about the chicken dish I answered truthfully which is all you can hope for in my experience. As you mentioned later in your blog there is always the word lawsuit to worry about so despite knowing chicken is fine for pregnant women and that chicken pot au feu is an inoffensive vegetable chicken stew I answered cautiously, trying to act with regard to the safety of your wife as well as looking out for the well being of the pubs interests.

  5. continued from above

    I am actually studying Engineering not to be an Obstetrician and most chefs, while knowing more about food than most of the population, including you and me Steve, are not qualified to make medical judgements.
    Its chicken Steve and all the ingredients were on the menu, perhaps before taking your pregnant wife out to new restaurants you do some research on what is suitable for her to eat. Use the internet it takes about ten seconds.
    And finally on the chicken incident the 'chicken pot au feu' was perfectly cooked, chicken quite often looks that way when broiled and it was steaming hot when set down. The opinion of the kitchen staff was that you were just ignorant and we all had a laugh at your expense as we looked at the perfectly cooked and presented meal you sent back.
    The pub wasnt empty look at the pictures in your own photos Steve and the reason you were in the pub was because you couldn't get a table in the restaurant remember? because it was totally full!!!
    The one thing you said that was accurate in this whole article was my comment "heres you pregnant safe chicken", (my little joke sorry Steve) and that social media is an effective marketing tool. That works both ways so before you set out to ruin publicly ruin an honestly run businesses reputation with your little articles have a think about it because the next time you may get a waiter who says yes without knowing or a manager who employs physical violence against rude patrons instead of turning the cheek.
    Kind regards
    Damian Burns waiter
    ps the other table left a big tip because they were so embarrassed by their friends behaviour.