The White Star Hotel

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72 Stirling Terrace, AlbanyTapsH
Ph: (08) 9841 1733
A Star is Brewing
PorkVAlbany’s White Star Hotel can only be described as the ’mother ship’ of pubs – this heritage listed, grand dame of 1910 is currently quietly undergoing refurbishment to bring it back to its former glory while updating and expanding its facilities to meet the 21st century.
The operators have seized upon the fact their clientele is asking for more and are keen to deliver. “Being a fully int
egrated Brew Pub gives us a major point of difference,” said owner David Wee. “It is a complete package capitalising on the sheer volume of patrons who walk through the doors of the White Star for the reputation of the eatery’s wholesome food, refreshments and live entertainment.”
The second storey will be converted into a conference/function centre and live music venue that has been approved to hold 1,000 patrons. The much-used beer garden will be massively extended to take in a children’s playground and space for the ever-increasing number of pub users taking full advantage of everything the White Star has to offer discerning palates. Music to the ears – literally – as the number of talented musicians will be increased given the larger venue so as to make big name bands able to play in Albany consistently and viably.
LambHLocated on Stirling Terrace on one of the Albany’s significant local heritage areas, the hotel, overlooks the Princess Royal Harbour. The White Star was named in recognition of the major passenger freight White Star shipping line that once operated from Albany’s port as part of the UK-Australia route.
With sights firmly set on retaining its heritage (a verandah exactly matching the original 1910 has recently been completed), everything about the White Star hotel is b-i-g.
FishChipsBeerVAnd that includes the menu: be warned – this is no ordinary pub grub. You will need a healthy appetite for the variety of tasty dishes served up by talented head chef Sam Jackson, formerly of the Garrison restaurant fame, Sean Healey and apprentice chef, Suzie King.
Before I go on to whet your appetite with the scrumptious food we sampled you need to know what’s brewing at the hotel.
The Albany Brewing Company – a boutique, small batch craft brewery – nestles in the north section of the White Star, and will be extended to double its size, and eventually located in its own building next to the beer garden.
With a thirst for local beer, the original Albany Brewing Company was founded and in operation from 1906 to 1936. In 2006 the brewery, under a different brand, was opened and operational back in Albany at the hotel, before being acquired and re-branded – Reborn –  as the Albany Brewing Company (ABC) in 2015.
With a range of six pure preservative/additive free beers, two of which are gluten free, the ABC prides itself on delivering fresh beer with all its flavours, textures and complexities to an increasingly large number of retail outlets and pubs around WA.
“We make a batch of 1,500 litres at a time,” says brewer Mark Burchison who, together with MasterShankHBrewer Andy Pimm and assistant Max Casey, takes great pride in creating a variety of traditional craft beer.
The popularity of the brews in the market, which include Porter, Pale Ale, Lager, Wheat Beer Ginger Beer, and a Gluten Free pale ale, is steering the brewery to increase its production, highlighting Albany beer to the rest of WA and indeed Australia.
The artisan products strike a wonderful match with the food served and is clearly gathering pace with diners.
There is no scrimping from the kitchen either, when it comes to portion size. The menu offers a large selection of all things good and wholesome. Using only fresh, local produce – and remember, you are in the region that capitalises on using the freshest of ingredients – the dishes are hearty and excellent value for money.
SurfVFrom the entree of White Star Wings, the Vegetarian Trio share plate to the main meals taking in lamb, sirloin steak, fish, pork belly and everything in between, we eagerly awaited each dish. Presentation, or appearance, is as important as the texture and taste: ‘we all eat with our eyes’. We were not disappointed.
Pairing ABC’s beers with each dish proved to be a perfect combination. Starting with the White Star Wings this entree is a must. The chicken wings are marinated in Porter Ale – a robust and smooth, dark ale. By infusing the flavour for a minimum of eight hours and pairing the dish with the same ale, our taste buds were on sensory overload.
The colourful plating of the Lamb Rack gave us a hint of what to expect from this great dish. The lamb, cooked medium-rare and succulent, was excellent. Adding the coriander and mini Israeli fluffy, cous cous, tzatziki and cherry tomatoes infused the flavours to perfection. The Pale Ale, with its freshness and slight citrus flavour, worked its magic with this dish.
The share plate – Vegetarian Trio – is slightly deceptive as there is a fourth element – a crunchy rocket salad and my overall favourite. I can’t tell you which of the Trio I enjoyed the most – they all tantalised my taste buds, begging for more of the caramelised onion and cheddar tart to the semi-dried tomato and pea Arancini balls to the Moroccan spiced quinoa cakes. It was served with the gluten free Ginger Beer – a refreshing, medium-dry ginger beer with a crisp ginger bite – which not only lifted the flavours of everything on the plate, it also served to cleanse the palate. Great choice.
We cannot go past the absolute classic Pork Belly – a favourite of chef Sam and, by all accounts, the patrons. Nicely presented as if the chef has used the plate as his canvas, the juicy, tender meat with its crispy, salty crackling sits on a bed of pumpkin puree, chorizo and parsley hash and cider jus.
Although the food is a large and impressive part of the White Star, the drinks menu is just as extensive and notable, featuring a wide range of beers, wines and spirits, and, together with the ambience of this hotel, the owners intend to make the White Star the best and biggest venue in the Great Southern.
And one that will, no doubt, set the social scene ablaze. We’ll drink to that.
By Linda Parkes


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