Where - 280 Ferrars St. South Melbourne
Price - $26
Website - http://www.railwaypub.com.au
Reviewers – Cale, Lee, Matt, Nikki & Stefo
If a mate ever tells you to "meet me at the Railway for a beer" you might want to consider cutting them loose as friends and making new ones that can be more specific with their plans. We have been to quite a few "Railway's" over the years - The Railway in Yarraville, The Railway in Brunswick, The Railway Club in Port Melbourne and even The Railway Friendly Hotel in Byron Bay. Long story short, this country isn't burdened with a shortage of Railways, and yet somehow, the Railway Hotel in South Melbourne has eluded us.
When I think about it, I think the aforementioned Railway Club Hotel in Port Melbourne and this one kind've merged together in my mind as the same pub, and once we reviewed one I had mentally ticked off the other as done, so when a few people recently asked me if we had checked out the Railway in South Melbourne my response was always a very unsure "I think so?", which drove me to check and confirm that no, this was one Railway that we had yet to try. (Side note, out of interest I checked to see just how far away The Railway is from the Railway Club, and they are only 1.3km apart, so I maintain that I had every right to be a little confused).
Our last few weeks of reviews have been a parade of beautifully renovated spaces, and while I've got nothing against a good renno, I was craving an old school pub. A down-to-earth old world backstreets local, so when I saw the above photo of a parma on a wine barrel beside a fireplace on the Railway's website I knew we had to hit it up for review this week.
We arrived on Thursday night, pulled up a pew, grabbed the menu and spied our target for the night -
We placed our order at the bar and awaited the arrival of our parmas.
The atmosphere at the Railway was just what the doctor ordered. A true old school local pub that feels as if you stepped back into the 60’s walking through the door. It’s big too, with two bar areas, a bistro beyond that, a spacious beer garden beyond that, and an old school pool room complete with vintage Rolling Stones pinball machine. Much like the Doctor’s TARDIS the Railway Hotel is much bigger on the inside than it seems from the outside.
Much like the pub itself the tap list at the Railway is old school, but respectable. Carlton, XXXX, Boags, Coopers, James Squire, Furphy, Little Creatures, White Rabbit, Sapporo & Heinieken with a few more options bottled behind the bar. Those who lean super crafty might be disappointed with what is on tap, but there’s plenty here to wet your whistle.
The chicken breast was startlingly white. I would have liked it a little thicker, but thats a minor criticism. The schnitzel was well cooked, seemingly pan fried as opposed to whacked in the deep fryer, and was sizeable enough that nobody walked out hungry.
The crumbing was razor thin, nothing to hide, however the bottom layer lost a bit of cling after serving and flaked away from the chicken while eating - But thats a minor quibble of an otherwise fantastic schnitzel.
The toppings were another win. Plenty of cheese, ham and Napoli covered the majority of the schnitz. The cheese was grilled to golden brown, bubbly perfection, and was probably the best of the trio - Full of flavour. The Napoli, while solid, could have used a little more spice, it was fine, but lacked punch.
The ham was lost, The strong flavour from the cheese masked it to the point where I had to check if there was even ham on the parma - A slice of ham will always be appreciated, but something with a bit more flavour would really drive this parma home.
I’m nitpicking though, overall the Railway served up a damn tasty parma.
Crinkle cut chips. Do I have to say any more? Probably. The decent serving of crinkle cut chips were cooked to perfection, could have been a little more seasoned when they hit the table, however the pièce de résistance was a veritable tasting paddle of chip dips delivered to us by the staff. Above and beyond and absolutely fantastic. And who doesn’t love a crinkle cut chip?
The seperate bowl for the salad was appreciated as always, at first bite I considered the garden salad a little under-dressed, however as I dug deeper into the bowl it became apparent that the dressing was merely hiding under the top layer of leaves. A respectable salad, but could have used a little more stuff, there was plenty of cucumber but rather light on tomato & red onion.
I won't lie, $26 is on the pricey side of the parma price spectrum. The Railway runs a Tuesday $14 parma night which seems like an astounding price drop if the same size/quality of parma is delivered.
Gastropubs are fine, sinking millions of dollars into jaw dropping pub renovations is fine - But sometimes you want something untouched, something old school, the Railway Hotel in South Melbourne fits that vibe to a tea. Nailing the “Cosy backstreets local”, it is definitely one to try if you’re in the area. Although a little pricey I highly recommend giving the parma a crack (especially on Tuesday - if you try it on parma night be sure to let me know how it was).
Check it out!