Where? - 12 River St. Richmond
Price? - $24
Reviewers – Lee, Nikki & Tony
For about a year I've been hearing we need to go back to the Royston. "But it wasn't that bad, I don't think we need a redo" I used to say to myself, yet the emails that we had done it a disservice with our 2013 review kept pouring in. Out of curiosity I re-read our old review and admit that it might have come off a little harsh, I didn't remember disliking it as much as it seemed that we did back then, so out of a mixture of curiosity and the want to get all of you people off my back, we loaded up the parma bus and, for the last new review of the 2016 season, headed to the Royston.
The pub still looks as cool as it did back then, perfectly maintaining the retro 70's pub charm that it is known for. Rather than eating in the back dining room like we did originally we opted for a table in the front bar, where the atmosphere was much livelier.
I normally just post a grab of the menu that talks about the parma, but I was so impressed with some of the other delicious sounding items on offer that you can see it all...
Philly cheesesteak? Sticky toffee pudding?! Yes please!
The Royston prides itself on its beer list, and it did not disappoint this time around. I won't even bother listing the beers on tap as I don't think I've seen the same beer at the Royston twice. This is a craft beer lover's pub, and whenever you visit I'm sure you'll find something delicious.
Holy cow that's a photogenic parma. On the plate it looked absolutely phenomenal. Wasting no time we picked up our cutlery and tucked in.
Gone was the supermarket-deli-window thick crumbed schnitzel and in its place was a plump, juicy, pure white and lovingly hand crafted chicken breast. The crumbing lacked crunch and felt a little soggy, however that is pretty much the only criticism I have about this parma. It was damn near perfection, including the toppings which I'll get to in a minute.
The schnitzel was thick and stayed impossibly piping hot throughout the meal. It may have appeared a little small on a large white plate but trust me, this is a filling meal that you won't walk away from hungry. As far as schnitzels go this was a top notch foundation to any parma and light years ahead of the Royston's 2013 predecessor.
My praise for the toppings are just as positive as my praise for the schnitzel - Actually, I think even more so as I don't think I can come up with a single criticism. The 3 cheese blend was plentiful and toasted to golden brown perfection, the napoli was fresh, flavoursome and added a refreshing kick to the dish.
As for the ham I think the Royston has taken a cue from our current #1 rated parma The Birmingham, liberal lashings of smoked ham top the Royston parma, to the point where it might even be the most ham we've ever seen on a parma. The rich smokeyness of the ham topped this already stellar parma perfectly. The toppings were the strong point of the 2013 Royston parma, the 2016 version has taken the already great toppings and turned them up to 11. Bravo.
I know I keep referencing the 2013 version of the Royston parma but its Redo Week so shut up. In 2013 we were disappointed with what we received at the Royston, however one thing everyone agreed on was that the chips were absolutely phenomenal, some of the best we've had, however in 2016 those beer battered slices of pillowy soft-yet-crunchy perfection were nowhere to be seen and the Royston parma's chips had been downgraded to a much more standard pub chip.
They were fine, being served beside the parma and not underneath was definitely appreciated, however they were on to near chip-perfection in 2013 and nixing those amazing chips was definitely a step back.
Gone was the oily, rocket heavy salad of 2016 and in its place was a delightfully fresh and crisp coleslaw. If I've noticed one trend in parmas the last year or so is that regular salad is definitely on the way out and coleslaw is moving in as the default side to the dish ... I think I'm okay with this.
The Royston's coleslaw was light on the mayo and quite refreshing - Although a little heavy on the lemon juice (or maybe coriander?) as it had quite the sour kick to it.
The Royston parma clocks in at $24 most days of the week, which some might consider a little on the expensive side, yet I'd be perfectly fine paying that again. You get what you pay for in terms of quality of ingredients and this is a prime example. Tuesday nights at the Royston is parma night and you can score this bird for just $18, a fantastic deal. An even better deal is that ParmaDaze Parma Knights members have access to this parma for just $18 any day of the week on presentation of their Parma Knight's keyring ... Get yours now! (Apologies for the ad, gotta pay the bills somehow!)
The meal at the Royston is amazing, no two ways about it. Despite some issues with the sides the parma itself is a touch shy of parma perfection. Had they still used the chips from the 2013 version of their parma I reckon they'd be in serious contention for the top of the ladder. Even without them this is still an amazing meal, an amazing pub and definitely worth your time to check out.
Parma - 9.33
Chips - 6.50
Salad - 7.33
Value - 7.50
Total - 8.00