Green Man's Arms vegetarian pub replaces the Roving Marrow in Carlton

The Green Man's Arms opens in the old Astor site. And it's all vegetarian.
The Green Man's Arms opens in the old Astor site. And it's all vegetarian. Photo: Eugene Hyland

One of Carlton's iconic corner pubs, briefly known as the Astor with the Roving Marrow dining room, but better known before that as Percy's, has been reborn yet again as a meat-free party.

It's fitting, then, that the pub should bear the name and leaf-sprouting visage of the mythological Green Man – not only an ancient symbol of regeneration, but a common marking over English pubs.

This is the third act for artists and publicans Alison Whyte and Fred Whitlock, who've previously run the Terminus Hotel and the Yarra Valley Grand. After decamping from Yarra Glen, the pair were ready to run something without the heavy responsibilities of a one-pub town.

Plant-based counter meals have come to Carlton.
Plant-based counter meals have come to Carlton.  Photo: Eugene Hyland

"It was a huge hotel with accommodation, and it had to service the community because it was the only pub," explains Whyte. "After years of doing parmas and lots of cheap steaks, we just thought that if we do another one, we'll do what we want to do."

It's a bold move to decouple beer from its natural companion: meat. But, Whyte and Whitlock reckon the moment's right for an Ottolenghi-inflected counter meal.

They're betting that even hardened carnivores will come around to Israeli-born chef David Raziel's house-made couscous cooked in a rich vegetable stock, and fresh ricotta knafeh with pickled grapes and pistachios. The hefty list of local craft beer should help.

The Green Man's orders are to try the Jerusalem-style falafel, with a side of Yemeni lahuh bread – fluffy, savoury pancakes that are made to order and served with pickles and parsley.

And, as a good pagan, it's best to accompany your meal with a hand-pumped cask ale from Macedon's Holgate Brewery.

Open daily 4pm-late.

418 Lygon Street, Carlton, 03 9347 7419, greenmansarms.com.au