It was back to the future when we went to Ric O’Shea’s at the Beaconsfield Hotel on Wednesday night.
The pub had a dishevelled charm with thick carpets that have seen better days, coffered ceilings, wooden beams and various engraved mirrors and lantern-style lights.
It felt like a proper old school boozer with no post-modern guff like hipsters drinking out of jam jars and other effete nonsense.
It also had a pleasant musty smell that conjured up images of Shane MacGowan and a king size Benson & Hedges.
The Irish wet dream was complete when the rain started to pelt down outside and the waitress lit a log fire in the lounge.
The menu had a range of pub classics, ‘From the grill’, smaller dishes and a decent variety of kids meals.
If you get a full price main you get a free kids meal with a drink and ice cream, which is great value.
I ordered my 250g Porterhouse steak medium ($16.95 special), but unfortunately it was way over cooked and came well done.
It was a bit of a cardinal sin, but I persevered and couldn’t fault the actual meat which tasted beautiful when combined with the rich mushroom sauce.
The accompanying beer-battered chips were extremely addictive, and the salad has a nice medley of water cress, lettuce, red capsicum and onion. An enjoyable dish, despite the boo-boo.
My children’s fish and chips ($12.90 full price) were delicious, with a substantial piece of beer-battered hake and crunchy fries. The glistening fillet was super fresh and cooked to perfection.
The free dessert wasn’t a token gesture, with a glass tumbler filled to the brim with chocolate ice cream. All quiet on the western front.
Across the table my wife was enjoying her Guinness pot pie ($21.50), which had a conspicuous puff pastry dome.
“It’s piping hot and crammed with beef, creamy mash potato and a delicious gravy with mushrooms,” she said.
“The pastry is nice and light and there’s a pile of broccolini to break things up. All in all a top pub dish.”
After entertaining the kids during the school holidays my wife needed a sugar fix, so she finished her meal with an indulgent sticky date pudding ($10).
There was a mixed clientele in Ric O’Shea’s with a few barflies glued to the ladies wrestling on the TV, families and several pensioners.
Every so often I could hear conversations about vitamin pills and hip replacements in the distance.
The poor barmaid was run off her feet, serving punters behind the bar, as well as taking food orders and waiting and clearing tables.
But her smiled never dropped and her service was excellent; explaining the different offers and chatting to our kids. She was a legend.
The hotel has loads of daily specials including fish and chips ($16.95) on Saturdays, pasta on Mondays and seafood on Tuesdays (both $14.95).
They’re very well priced and along with the free kids meals, this is a great value night out. Ric O’Shea’s is a bit rough around the edges, but it’s a loveable Irish rogue.
The Beaconsfield Hotel (Ric O’Shea’s)
73 Wray Avenue Fremantle
by STEPHEN POLLOCK