The Earl of Spencer

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The Earl of Spencer
60 Earl Street, Albany
Ph: (08) 9847 4262

Welcome to The Earl

The Earl of Spencer Inn radiates a warmth that is hard to find in an era of funky and “cool” places to eat out. With roaring open fires, pictures of Queen and country adorning the walls, a red telephone box mirroring your arrival and a cheery hello from behind the 120-year-old bar, a quiet reminiscence takes over.

The Earl, as it’s more commonly known, is an institute among Albany locals and one of the oldest and longest running pubs in Australia, having its first licence granted in 1884. It’s seen many changes in that time including a private residence, boarding house, inn, grocery store and now a boutique pub.

The Earl’s iconic bar, great selection of beers, generous meals and warm friendly service, make it a stand out amongst the crowd. Neil and Sarah Simmonds have run The Earl for the past five years, and credit a lot of its reputation on the small team, both front of house and back, and the synchronicity between the two.

Proud of their English heritage, it is Sarah’s touch that makes the Earl such a warm place to visit with Neil working his magic in the kitchen. He describes the menu as “not just pub grub but something that the regular punter won’t expect. We change the menu three times a year, bringing in as much local produce as possible, with 99% of the food made in house”. With this in mind, I let Neil and Sous Chef Jaiden decide on the dishes for the pairing, a decision I am happy to say left me in no doubt about my next visit.

The Famous Earl Pie is what the customers come for. Standing tall amongst a pile of thick cut chips, smothered in rich gravy and paired with a pint of black bitter Guinness, it’s a wintertime feast. The crust was thick and moist, with a sweet tender meaty filling which sat well alongside the sharpness of the Guinness it’s braised in.

This was followed by the Bangers and Mash, that’s right – the old family favourite. Locally made chunky pork sausages sit atop silky mashed potato, served with steamed broccolini and finished with an ample amount of gravy. Paired with The Earl of Wilson, a locally made English Bitter from Wilson’s Brewery, the dish, although sounding simple was elegant and delicious.

The Roast Lamb Rump was as good looking as it was enjoyable. It was accompanied by braised red cabbage, pine nut herb crumb and rich gravy on the side, and paired with 2021 Monty’s Leap Appleshed Red, whose characteristics of plum, blackberries and subtle oak was a well-balanced union. The lamb was perfectly cooked – juicy with a melt in your mouth tenderness. The cabbage with herb crumb was crunchy and fresh that enhanced the tones of the Appleshed Red, helping to cut into the lamb’s slight fattiness. This dish was my favourite and one I’m looking forward to coming back to.

Our final dish was the light and charming Cajun Atlantic Salmon served with local marinated octopus, charred lemon and a fresh fennel and edamame bean salad. Paired with 2022 Singlefile Pinot Grigio, the lemon and lime tones of the wine helped enhance the slight heat from the salmon’s Cajun crispy skin. This dish was sweet and succulent, while the fennel and edamame beans added crunch that pushed through the oiliness of the fish, making this a very pleasant choice.

The Earl of Spencer is all about good food, great drinks and fabulous service. It is open Tuesday to Saturday until late with live music on Fridays, so next time you are in the area, be sure to come on in and check it out.

By Andrea Gallagher


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