Attempt #84 - 'Rochester Castle Hotel'


When? - 09/02/12

Where? - Rochester Castle Hotel. 202 Johnston St. Fitzroy

Price? - $8 for original, $10 for novelty

Barry? - No

Website? -

Reviewers -  Cale, Lee, Nikki, Stefo[/info]

** NOTE - This pub has closed! Parma no longer available - Review will stay up for posterity. Enjoy!


A couple of weeks ago I made a post on /r/Melbourne, the Melbourne sub-reddit of the website Reddit, Asking the good people for suggestions of pubs to hit to find a good parma - I was inundated with responses so last week I picked one at random from the massive list, loaded up the parma bus and headed down to the Rochester Castle Hotel.

The first thing that struck me about the Rochester was the sheer size of the place - I wasn’t expecting this corner pub to be so massive! heaps of tables in the front bar, booths through the back room to the pool tables and continuing into a quaint little beer garden out the back - we took a seat and perused the menu, we were in for more than just a standard parma as a rather sizable list of novelty parmas appeared before us…

Both the schnitzel & gravy and the traditional parma clocked in at $8, all the others $10. Reviewers Stefo, Nikki and myself kept it traditional, while reviewer Cale branched out and got the Nacho parma, with salsa, ham, mozzarella, corn chips, guacamole & sour cream.

While waiting for our food the two pints I had consumed got to me and I had to use the facilities, I don’t normally mention the men’s room in reviews but this one shocked me, as it was lit entirely by tea light candles - I don’t often pee by candlelight, and the whole experience felt … well I won’t say rapey but I was definitely clenching my cheeks.

When we ordered we got one of those plastic buzzers that light up and vibrate when the food is ready. I friggin love these things, I dont know why but if more pubs had them I would die a happy man!

The buzzer buzzed and we collected our meals, I have included photos of both the Traditional and the Nacho parma to give you a clearer idea.

Okay, it’s a cheap and nasty parma, but for $8 I can’t say I was surprised. It wasn’t terrible, not at all, for a cheap and nasty it was actually pretty good, but the whole thing was just bland. Unfortunately neither the chicken, ham or cheese carried any flavour, and the napoli was virtually nonexistent.

I’ll say it again in the conclusion but I’ll put it here as well for the record - This is a parma that needs the novelty toppings, the parma on its own just doesn’t carry enough flavour to stand on its own. The Nacho parma looked freakin delicious, and regretted not getting something from the novelty menu from the moment it hit the table.

The chips were standard, well seasoned but a little overcooked, nothing special - some tomato sauce on the table would have helped them out a lot.

The garden salad was basic, but for an $8 parma not a lot is ever expected of the salad. Simple garden salad of lettuce, carrot, onion, tomato and a splash of balsamic - was a little light on the balsamic for my liking but nothing terrible.

ParmaCam seemed to get a good reception last week, so it returns!

[youtube id="Z6sXdxuB9s8" width="580" height="337"]

I really need to work out a way to format these better so the quotes don’t come right after the ParmaCam, maybe next week I’ll put it after the parma section itself, I’d change it myself, but ehhh, I’m too hung over for that!

If you’re after a cheap n nasty parma then the one at the Rochester actually isn’t that bad, Tuesday night trivia coupled with cheap jugs and a $10 novelty parma sounds like a great night out to me, and definitely wouldn’t say no to another one, but avoid the traditional and go for something from the M selections range (a little bit fancy).

Parma - 4.86
Chips - 3.63
Salad - 3.63
Value - 7.88
Total - 4.97

The search continues…

Rochester Castle Hotel on Urbanspoon

Thanks to the Redditors for the suggestions! I have a lot to get through now and will not rest until we try them all.