Website? - http://royalderbyhotel.com.au/
Reviewers – Carly, Dale, Daniel, Fridge, Jo, Kim, Kylie, Lee, Nikki, Pat, Pete, Shanan, Stefo, Tony S, Tony Q [/info]
I say this about a few pubs, but The Royal Derby is one of those spots I have been past a zillion times yet never really considered checking out. Sitting on the corner of Alexandra Parade and Brunswick Street in Fitzroy, it just never registered as a place to check out - I always just sailed past on the way to our many other parmas down Brunswick Street. Maybe I'm just not very observant.
However last night we didn't go past, we went inside - and I've got to say I was pleasantly surprised. As a pub its got everything you could want. Decent range of beers on tap, Plenty to keep you entertained (pool tables, trivia machine, TAB & Big Buck Hunter) and what seems to be a recently renovated interior, which was very cosy and inviting - not to mention an abundance of TV's around to catch the footy, If I lived anywhere near the area I'd be happy to call it my local.
Signs on the wall indicated that the back of the pub was home to "Fitzroy's biggest beer garden" So we poked our heads out the door to find a very impressive setup - I'm not sure how valid the claim of "Biggest in Fitzroy" is, but it's definitely a contender. Heaps of space, outdoor pool tables, plenty of heaters and even more TV's. I was liking the Royal Derby more by the minute.
We took our seats and checked the menu -
*Note, this is a grab from the website, the price is now listed at $21, not $19.
Target sighted. We placed our orders at the bar and fed some change into Big Buck Hunter to kill some time. There was a big group of us this week (15 people) so it took a good pint before the parmas started arriving from the kitchen, forgivable as it was a big order.
It looked great on the plate, and I was starving so we tucked in without hesitation, and on my first bite I was let down. My parma was luke-warm at best, a sentiment shared with about half of the table - A note to pubs, on a big order like this I would rather you bring out the food as its ready as opposed to letting the ones you finish first die under the heat lamps as you get the other ones ready. The crumbs had turned soggy and there was no crunch to them whatsoever.
Temperature aside the schnitzel was of an average size, average thickness, thin crumbs and real chicken. All up rather middle-of-the-road foundations for this bird.
The toppings, like the schnitzel, were all very so/so. Good coverage of cheese, napoli and ham - but everything was bland and flavourless. Technically all the ingredients were there, but there was nothing standout about this parma. Not technically bad, but not great.
The chips, on the other hand, were fantastic. Well seasoned, golden brown beer battered beauties. Definitely the hero of the dish, My only complaint is that there weren't more of them - I would have loved another handful. Pots of tomato sauce were also supplied on each plate without request - The chips were good enough to carry themselves without it, but it was an appreciated addition.
Coleslaw instead of a garden salad is always a nice surprise, and this coleslaw was fresh and tasty. Sometimes coleslaw with a parma can get a little too rich if you're served too much of it, and I think if there had've been any more on the plate it would have started to veer that way - but this was the perfect amount, not too big, not too small. A fine accompaniment to the dish.
For $21 this parma definitely filled a hole. As I said earlier there was nothing particularly bad about it (other than the temperature - but I'm hoping that was an isolated incident). For $21 I probably wouldn't go out of my way to track it down again - But if I found myself at The Royal Derby again I wouldn't object too harshly. On Wednesday night's there is a $15 pot and parma deal, If you were going to check out this parma I'd definitely say to go then as that's not a bad deal at all.
After dinner we pumped a few more dollars into buck hunter and rounded out the night with a couple more beers. We don't normally hang out for long after the deed is done, So I guess this is a testament to the inviting nature of The Royal Derby, it's a pub I'd be happy to go back to for a pint any day of the week, would be a great spot to catch the footy and sink a few beers with mates on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Reviews for average parmas always feel like nothingness ... but thats pretty much an apt description of the Royal Derby's bird. Nothingess. Other than the chips nothing really "popped" on this plate - But it was a perfectly fine meal none the less. Check it out if you want, or don't ... I'm not sure.
- Great chips
- Coleslaw instead of garden salad
- Bland parma
- Was served lukewarm