Where? - The Richmond Club Hotel. 100 Swan st. Melbourne
Price? - $21
Website? - http://richmondclubhotel.com.au/
Reviewers – Fridge, Janet, Lee, Matt, Nikki, Stefo[/info]
In my drunken travels up & down Swan Street, I have walked past the Richmond Club Hotel many times, yet I've always registered it as a bit of a dive - ignorant of me, I know, but with so many attractive establishments in the area the RCH never really fell onto my radar.
How wrong I was.
A few weeks ago I was reading an article about the newly renovated Prahran Hotel (which looks amazing, by the way) and it was mentioned that one of the owners previous projects was the Richmond Club Hotel. I did some googling and good lord, behind the shoddy exterior the RCH is a simply gorgeous pub.
pic nicked from the RCH website-
I had to check it out in person so we put it on last weeks facebook poll, it got up with ease (always a sign of a good pub) and last night we headed over.
As expected, behind the unassuming facade the inside of the Richmond Club Hotel is a sight to behold - three levels of booths, couches, cosy nooks to get comfy in, and more bars than you can shake a stick at (mostly because you'd probably get kicked out if you started waving around a stick in a busy pub, thats just irresponsible. You could have someone's eye out).
The Dining room is on the ground floor (along with the public bar), but the RCH dining room has two set seating times for dinner - the first at 5:45, the second at 8 and seeing as we rocked up at seven we were kind've in the middle of both. So rather than hit the dining room we headed up a level and found a booth up there, this floor has more of a "clubby" sort of vibe, with dance floor, DJ booth and so on. The pub was filling up and we were lucky to snag the table that we did. If it weren't such a horrible winter's night we would have ventured up even further to the rooftop beer garden, which has to be one of the best rooftop pubs I have ever seen, with massive 20 person booths and a view of the Melbourne skyline that has to be seen to be believed.
We took our seats, checked the bar menu, spied our target...
and placed our order.
Cheap drinks were in effect from 6 till 7, so we came in just early enough to snag one $6 pint before they went back to regular prices, a nice little bonus. On Friday's the pub runs a "Karma Keg" (commonplace among this pub group) wherein for one keg you can pay whatever you like for a pot - with all proceeds going to charity/local projects. A great idea, and I applaud them for it.
After about 10 minutes the first two (of six) parmas arrived, Unfortunately the rest of them didn't come out for another ten to fifteen minutes on top of that, Which was a bit of an annoyance. Either way, we tucked in...
If you're gonna serve a parma that's relatively small, you should reduce the size of your plate - it looks lonely.
The schnitzel was quite small, but made from real chicken breast and thick enough, without cheating with the crumbs. Unfortunately the bird itself was rather dry, all of our parmas were rather overcooked - some verging on burnt (there were some black edges around the table).
The cheese, napoli and ham were all present, but all rather flavourless - there was no spice in the napoli and both the cheese & ham were very bland, which sent most of the table reaching for the salt & pepper to spice it up.
This is one of the smallest parma descriptions I've done, but I really have nothing else to say - purely because the parma is a lot of nothingness - no part of it was particularly objectionable (other than the dryness of the chicken) but it was just a non-event
Unlike the parma, the chips were outstanding. Piping hot, beer battered and delicious (although with so much room on the plate it would have been easy to not lay the parma on top). They were well seasoned, crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. If they had've supplied some sort of dipping sauce (like garlic aioli - even a bit of the old dead horse) they'd be heading for a perfect score.
The salad was another disappointment, a pile of lettuce (albeit fresh) with a couple of carrot and onion shavings and single hunk of tomato. Taking a page from the parma's book, it was a bit bland and lifeless.
$21 is a bit steep for what was delivered seeing as we all left a little hungry, but the cheap pints helped ease the sting a little. The RCH runs a $13 parma night on Tuesday & Wednesday, yet I've heard (unconfirmed) reports from quite a few people that the real chicken breast is switched out for a processed cheapo schnitzel on the discount days - A major party foul if true (foul. Get it? Because its a chicken?... Anyone?).
The full priced version wasn't terrible, however I wouldn't go out of my way to have this one again.
The pub is amazing, the chips even better, yet everything else was uninspired. The menu boasts a bowl of beer battered chips with aioli, If I ever find myself at the Richmond Club again I'll definitely be getting one of those along with a pint on the rooftop beer garden, watching the trains go by and soaking in one of the best views of our great city I've seen.
Parma - 4.83
Chips - 7.92
Salad - 4.00
Value - 5.33
Total - 5.38
The search continues...