In a suburb of architectural gems, Armadale’s Orrong Hotel stands proud. The 150-year-old art deco pub had been closed for nearly two years when Matt Vero (who also co-owns Marquis of Lorne, Union House and the Mount Erica Hotel) and Scott Connolly (owner of Moe’s Moore Street Tavern in the Latrobe Valley) took custodianship in 2021. But ushering the old dame into a new era was always more about restoration than renovation.
The front bar’s false ceiling has been removed, revealing the original molded plasterwork. The worn pub carpet is also gone, letting the previously concealed floorboards shine – or else replaced with fresh carpet resembling a ‘70s style jumper your mum would you make you wear (in the best way).
Where significant changes have been made, they’ve been done with respect to flow and accessibility. The old TAB has a fresh coat of paint and a timber bar, while the snug bar now open onto a brand new courtyard. What was once the bottle shop coolroom has also been converted into a pool and games room.
Chef Phillip Latta (previously of Bentleigh’s Wolfe & Malone) runs the kitchen, with a menu that centres around classic pub fare but also pulls from his wine-bar background.
For the staple chicken parma, 300-gram breasts are brined, crumbed and fried until crisp, then topped with a braised tomato sugo, three cheeses and Virginia ham. The Philly cheesesteak uses Wagyu rump that’s dry-aged in-house, and the range of pastas are all handmade by Latta and his team.
Like any good boozer, the Orrong serves up a cast of weeknight specials. Drop in for a pot and parma on Wednesday, a half-kilo of hot wings on Friday and more. The Sunday roast has also returned, which changes weekly and comes with all the trimmings.