Sunday, February 26, 2017

Black Spur Inn, Narbethong by Benny

Wandering through the Yarra Ranges National Park is a great way to spend time with friends who want to experience some of Victoria’s great outdoors. Less than two hours’ drive from Melbourne’s CBD takes you to a place of tall eucalypt forests, verdant tree fern gullies and majestic waterfalls. But all this nature and fresh air stimulated the appetite, and the Alchemist declared that it was time for lunch – not just any lunch, but one hopefully involving a big grilled steak!

Black Spur Inn, Narbethong, porterhouse steak
Porterhouse steak

There has been a Black Spur Inn at Narbethong since 1863 – although bushfires have destroyed it at least twice. Today it offers a traditional full country hotel service – accommodation, pub, bar meals and restaurant – in a country-style timber two-storey building with large, welcoming verandas, set in a pleasant forest clearing just off the main highway.

Black Spur Inn, Narbethong
Inside, the restaurant décor is a sort of “modern reproduction heritage” – upholstered dining chairs in a mixture of striped and plain fabric sit at polished timber tables set with cloth napkins, cutlery and wine glasses. There is plenty of space between the tables. The restaurant has incorporated the veranda along one wall, bringing it inside with floor to ceiling windows and glass overhead. These are the best seats in the house, just like dining in a light-filled conservatory, with relaxing forest views.

The menu offers five entrées, eight mains, and seven desserts, plus some daily specials. The traditional country pub classics are all here (roast of the day anyone?) plus a few slightly exotic offerings such as Thai Vegetable Curry and Wild Mushroom Arancini. And there is steak – a Porterhouse or a Wagyu rump, both 300gm. The desserts stick with tradition, ranging from a Baked Alaska, to a Lemon Tart, to an Affogato.

The Alchemist ordered his porterhouse cooked to medium (described in the menu as ‘pink and firm’) and it came exactly as ordered, but was just a bit dry (see first pic). Rather than being overcooked, I suspect that this is because porterhouse is a lean cut with little fat, and so probably should at most be cooked to medium rare. It was served with Hasselback-style baked potato and roasted corn. The Alchemist chose to substitute the standard salsa verde with a pepper sauce. The accompaniments were all fine.

Black Spur Inn, Narbethong, fish of the day
Bilby Blue’s fish of the day from the daily specials was the highlight. Hasselback-style baked potato and a fresh crisp salad of fennel and snow pea shoots were a fine accompaniment to a large, perfectly cooked Blue Eye fillet with a crispy skin.

Black Spur Inn, Narbethong, braised lamb shoulder
My braised lamb shoulder was also excellent – a generous serve of extremely tender lamb floating in a sea of soft polenta, with sautéed spinach and a lemon and parsley gremolata. Very flavoursome.

Black Spur Inn, Narbethong, spatchcock chicken
Gumnut’s Mandarin and Chilli Half Spatchcock was served with a date and apricot couscous and tahini yoghurt. A spatchcock is a small chicken, so half a spatchcock made for a smaller dish than our other choices. Gumnut declared it to be fine, as long as you had a bit of everything in each mouthful – the spatchcock by itself did not have a lot of flavour and was a bit dry.

Our friendly server assured us that the desserts were all made in-house – definitely an attraction.

Black Spur Inn, Narbethong, cheesecake
The best of the bunch was my Bitter Chocolate and Walnut Cheesecake from the daily specials menu – a true dark chocolate indulgence served with chocolate fudge sauce and strawberries.

Black Spur Inn, Narbethong, chocolate brownie
Bilby’s Dark and White Chocolate Brownie with salted caramel ice cream was unfortunately a disappointment. The brownie was overcooked – burnt around the edges and dry, losing any hint of fudginess.

Black Spur Inn, Narbethong, frozen chocolate rum hazelnut parfait
The Alchemist was happy with the Frozen Chocolate, Rum and Hazelnut Parfait with Drambuie Anglaise.

Black Spur Inn, Narbethong, Aussie mess
And Gumnut had the Aussie Mess with meringue cream, passionfruit and mango. A real sweet tooth, she loved it.

Black Spur Inn, Narbethong


We really liked it
We really liked it despite a couple of disappointments.

Mid value
Mid value.


With a relaxing setting, the Black Spur Inn is a very pleasant place to while away an afternoon.
The menu also caters for vegetarians, vegans, dairy free and gluten free dietary restrictions.

Find it at

Black Spur Inn
436 Maroondah Highway
Narbethong Vic 3778
Telephone: (03) 5963 7121

The Black Spur Inn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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