Pub spy: Doolan Brothers, Ellerslie

By Don Kavanagh

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Address: 3 Robert St, Ellerslie, Auckland
Phone: (09) 579 5592

Doolan Brothers offered service with a smile and a hearty meal. Photo / Michael Craig
Doolan Brothers offered service with a smile and a hearty meal. Photo / Michael Craig

I may have mentioned before that I'm not a huge fan of so-called Irish pubs. The kitset paddy-whackery gets up my nose and there is something inescapably fake about so many of them that I've pretty much given up on them.

However, this one used to be my local when it was the Cock & Bull, so I thought I'd check out how the change from pretend-English to pretend-Irish bar had gone.

I was pleasantly surprised to be confronted by a smiling bartender, something that was never a given in the old C&B days, and decided to have a bite to eat while I was there.

Very good it was, too. Say what you like about the authenticity of its Irishness, but it has English cuisine down pat with old favourites like traditional Sunday roast and toad in the hole on the menu. It took a while, but not excessively so and was presented nicely too. The prices were also more than palatable, which was a relief, having been to its sister pub, Danny Doolan's, where they charged like a wounded bull.

The beer selection is a bit drab, unless you have a real hankering for mainstream lagers, draughts and Guinness, but that's to be expected. The wine list was better and the spirit selection was acceptable indeed.

The bar is clean, tidy and comfortable and, as I said, the service is fine. But I'm still a bit flummoxed as to how an "Irish" gastro pub (and that's a phrase I detest) can have absolutely nothing even pretending to be Irish on the menu. Would a bit of stew or boxty be beyond the kitchen's capabilities? Is champ too technically challenging?

Ah well, never mind; just don't expect it to be like any pub in Ireland and you'll be absolutely fine with Doolan Brothers, the good, solid, Kiwi bar that it is.


Service: 3.5
Menu: 4
Drink: 3
Atmosphere: 3.4
Overall: 3.5

- Herald on Sunday

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