The Yass Hotel turns up its pub food game

Every town has at least one pub, but with food a cut above your usual taproom fair, The Yass Hotel is a must visit to grab a bite and a cocktail or two.

Previously closed for renovations, their cyan walls, original period tiles, pendant lighting and dark wood seating make for an inviting atmosphere. We choose a table in the light-filled front room and order our starters – three plates to share with impromptu mocktails and cocktails from the bar.

We are intrigued by our drinks as only two of them have official names. ‘Liquid Blue’ is made up of Bacardi, blue curacao, parfait amour and lemon juice; while ‘Illusion’ is made up of vodka, midori, cointreau, pineapple and lemon juice.

Both of them paired well with Baby Squid, a delectable plate of tender salt and white pepper calamari with lime, coriander and chilli salsa that sat on a bed of tomato and rocket salad.

Colourful aperitifs and beautifully platted food are just one aspect of hotel. The other reason to visit is how accommodating the establishment is: “While our menu, designed by Executive Chef Shawn, isn’t completely gluten free, we are happy to prepare gluten free or vegan meals if patrons give us enough notice,” said Yass Hotel manager James.

Another thirst quencher arrives and this time it’s a magenta coloured mocktail that was both sweet and tart at the same time. James tells us that he often makes this concoction of grenadine, squash and juice for groups of women who just want to have a few drinks with the gals without the alcohol.

We sip on our liquid refreshments as we indulge in Chicken Quesadilla and Hand Cut Chips. The quesadillas of grilled chicken, wahaca cheese, sweet corn, coriander, guacamole and sour cream is our favourite starter so far. It’s packed full of flavour and also presented beautifully on a serving wooden board.

We circle back to the murky colour of the ‘Illusion’: “Don’t be fooled by its murky colour, it’s a crowd favourite and often ordered in jugs”, added James.

The Yass Hotel has cocktail happy hour every Thursday from 5 to 7 pm and diners can find these aperitifs available: “While our cocktails are not on the menu full-time, patrons can request for them on other days if the bar isn’t busy.”

Time for mains. Our table of five order from both the ‘Mains’ and ‘Yass Favourites’ sections of the menu.

Hotel manager James recommends the Wagyu Beef Burger with American cheese, pickles, smoky BBQ sauce and Carolina mustard aioli. It did not disappoint.  The pattie was moist and juicy and hit the spot! It also came with a side of hand cut chips with rosemary salt.

We also tried the gluten free house made Gnocchi with baby spinach, button mushrooms, feta and garlic butter. Our tip when ordering this dish, is to share this meal especially  if you have already had some starters to begin with.

The Fish and Chips, Chicken Schnitzel and Prawn and Chorizo Linguine were also delicious and very generous in portions. From our photographs, you will notice that The Yass Hotel has some serious frying skills too! The fish and chicken were crumbed and fried to perfection, with the perfect colour to boot.

Chef Kyle, the man behind our freshly baked desserts tells us that the Self Saucing Chocolate Pudding is his father’s recipe and while this dish will remain on the menu, some of the other desserts might change in the near future.

For now, we dived into our sweet treats. Steam escaped as we cut through each piping hot dish – they were also very beautiful to look at. Like we mentioned before, this is not your typical pub food presentation, detailed thought has gone into its revamp. It surely made our experience all that more wonderful.

The Yass Hotel is located on 111 Comur Street, Yass NSW 2582.

Travel and Beyond were guests of The Yass Hotel. All opinions are our own.

Rosemarie John and Joseph Ellis

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