If you think you’re here just for the craft beers, you’ll soon discover how wrong you are. This is real, cheffed gastropub food. The menu works for all categories of guests. Those who come for the beer will enjoy the snacks like spiced nuts or flatbreads with pickled beetroot and goat's cheese. The afternoon hordes go for platters of cured meats, superior pickles and/or cheeses.
For actual lunchers and diners, the menu offers Small Plates and Main Plates, the latter divided into Classic, Comfort, Salad and Wood-fired Pizza dishes. There are specials, too, as well as sides, including the not-to-be-missed pumpkin-ale fritters.
The small plates are more amusing, including the likes of roasted bone marrow with onion marmalade and toast, a rewarding Caesar salad, grilled calamari and baby pork ribs. An ideal choice here is a West Coast mussels in Weiss beer, celery and herbs. Since many come here for the beer, the use of various versions of it in some of the food makes sense.
The mains feature dishes like homemade mushroom ravioli with pine nuts and butter-sage sauce, a three-sausage (pork, beef, lamb) gnocchi, and a beef fillet served with lovely accompaniments like parmesan mash and pea purée on a rich dark wine sauce.
The lunch specials change fairly regularly with the seasons, but the ever-popular F burger with bacon chutney and avo persists. Don’t order beer-battered hake outside of mealtimes because the batter is not as crispy; opt perhaps for the braised pork in ginger beer and served with apple slaw, or a lamb bunny in a sourdough roll with tomato chilli.
Their wood-fired pizzas are a little chunkier than expected, but very popular and not too heavily cheesed, like the elegant braised fennel and chorizo version with bacon and the white anchovy pizza with gremolata, olives, chilli and capers.
People come here in droves for the 56 unusual craft beers, nine of which are on tap. Many beer drinkers head straight to the bar section to get serious. There are, however, also some interesting aperitifs, cocktails, coolers and plenty of good wines for beer widows and widowers.
The service is stretched in the evenings, but copes at speed. At lunch time service tends to be more individualistic and quirky. All staff are fully, even lyrically, versed in craft beers.
There's a very loud buzz, by day or by night. The generously sized deck fills up first, then the buzz spreads into the spacious interior with its interesting mural and the very large bar. Foundry is ridiculously popular and, though the fascinating and well-chosen beers are the pull, the imaginative food backs things up nicely. It’s a treat to loll about in a most glorified pub and have the chef in a white toque making an appearance.
Owner-chef Willem Lubbe has upped the standard of what would otherwise be pub grub and is keeping it there.