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How to do classic pub meals – with an all new twist

by Don Grant

Thinking about starting up or wanting to buy a pub in Australia? You'll be needing great booze, a sunny beer garden and, of course, a classic pub menu. But a successful pub venture is going to take a bit of extra consideration. Times have changed a little, and while a traditional pub meal is still popular, they've been adapted slightly. Let's take a look at the good old-fashioned meals that people are still eating and the little twists that keep them hot.

The Parma

Chicken parmigiana is the mother of all pub meals. But a shoddy parma can mean the death of your business. If you're going to do a parma, here's how to do it right. Choose your parma-style by gauging the vibe in the location. If it's hip and trendy, you'll want a vegan alternative, made from either faux chicken or eggplant in the Italian way. If you're settling into a place with an older crowd, don't underestimate their tastes. You'll want to serve up your parma with home-made tomato sauce and salad with a bit of character.


Kangaroo is another old favourite. Popular perception still sees roo as a "healthy" meat, so you'll want to do it in a way that suits, which means laying off the mash and gravy. Have your roo done on the barbecue, lightly seared, with a simple and elegant seasoning. Or, consider serving a roo salad. The fresh leafy salad will complement your lean yet hearty roo, making the perfect meal for hungry health-nuts wanting to treat themselves.


If you're going to make pizza part of your pub's menu, you can really use it to bring in the customers. Aussie pizzas have moved on from being those thick sloppy late-night meals to being a light type of share food. For this reason, you'll want to do them in smaller portions and have a selection to choose from. Have a gluten free option. A huge amount of people are avoiding wheat products these days, not just the coeliac but those with gluten as well as oligo-fructan intolerance.

Fish and chips

This classic item is also done a little differently these days. It's still battered and served with tartare, but your choice of fish really counts. Today's consumers are conscientious buyers; they'll want to know that their fish is sourced sustainably and from local waters. For this reason, serving flake is a bad idea. Avoid using shark and opt for whiting or flathead instead. Whatever seafood you do select, be aware of where it comes from and look out for sustainability certificates. You can add these notes to your menu or simply prepare your wait staff for questioning from customers.