12 River Street
Richmond VIC 3121
+ 61 3 9421 5000
“What are the four vegetables that are in a Chiko Roll?”
All three pairs of eyes turned to me, the self-confessed foodie of the group. My face turning bright red as I tried to remember the last time I actually ate a Chiko Roll (like, never?), I spat out the four most plausible Chiko Roll vegie ingredients, “Carrot… cabbage… ummmm…potato? … onion?”
Welcome to trivia night at the Royston Hotel.
If you’re arriving by tram, the best way to get to the Royston is to hop on the 75 and get off at River Street, just shy of the Yarra River. A short walk will lead to you to a dead end, and a bar that has been sitting in the heart of Richmond for 50 odd years.
Previously a drinking hole for Richmond’s working class men who were working hard to make a living and taking shelter from the rain, it is now a favourite meeting spot for locals who are looking for a relaxing spot for a mid-week tipple, folks who, too, work hard to make a living and take shelter from the rain (it WAS bucketing down on the night we went). While most people are content to sit here to watch the cricket with a pint on a lazy Sunday afternoon, it was the $15 parma and burgers, the hotel’s vast selection of microbrewery beers and a lively trivia host by the name of Joe that drove team Donald Land to make an appearance at trivia night a few Wednesdays ago. Why ‘Donald Land’, you ask? And WTF kind of a name is that? Well, it’s apparently a Japanese video game from the 80s that never made it big here (for obvious reasons) and it involves ordering stuff at the Golden Arches. Yep. That’s the sort of team name you’d come up with when you put together a foodie, a Japanophile, a fob and a yes-man together.
Having disliked the Mountain Goat Pale Ale a few years ago and swearing never to touch anything by the brewery since then, the fact that almost a third of the Royston’s beers were Mountain Goat ones. I asked for a Holgate, only because it was being pumped from an old school pump only to be told that the beer was ‘off’ and that I had to choose another one. Defeated, I ended up going with a Mountain Goat Steam Ale and not really expecting much… but was surprised to find that I really enjoyed it. Apparently the steam ale has replaced the pale ale (thank EFF) and I can see why. While the pale ale was shthouse to say the least, the steam ale was clean, crisp with a slight citrus taste – in fact, it just screamed out ‘SUMMER!’ If I had to choose a song to capture the essence of this beer, it would be Len’s ‘Steal My Sunshine.’
The rest of the team ordered the $15 chicken parma which came with a wild rocket salad and chips. The parma received overwhelmingly positive responses and the fact that Cathy left hers half-finished meant that it was of a decent portion. Of course, it could have also meant that she just doesn’t eat much but we’ll go with my first interpretation, okay? The chicken was tender and moist, the layer of Napolitana sauce was not too thick so that it made the crumbs soggy and the cheese/ham ratio was just right. Arguably one of the better parmas we’ve all had for quite some time.
I decided to be different and go for a $15 burger. I was given the choice between the chicken, the vegie and the wagyu beef and it goes without saying that the beef prevailed.
What caught my eye was the fact that the beef pattie was massive. And shaped like a cricket ball. It was soft and fatty and deliciously tasty. In fact, the entire burger would have been a success had it not been for the tomato and capsicum relish that was way too overpowering and way too sweet. Thank goodness, I guess, for the slice of cheddar, fresh tomato and lettuce that diffused some of the horrible sweetness though.
And the chips. Oh yes, the chips. Hand-cut, fried in tallow-y goodness, crispy on the outside and fluffy like clouds on the inside… these were some damn good chips.
We may not have did well in trivia (okay, we pretty much SUCKED) but we sure had lots of fun. And even though I wasn’t too pleased with my burger, I thought everything else food-wise was fantastic. Next time, I’ll be ordering the parma and an extra pint of steam ale.
Oh and by the way, the four vegetables that are (allegedly) in a Chiko Roll: carrot, cabbage, onion … and celery.