427 Swanston St
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9663 1619
For some reason, mid-week post-work catch-ups (wow, three dashes in a row!) are more fun in the summer months. I don’t know about you, but there’s something about leaving an air-conditioned office and stepping out into 30 degree heat and enjoying several more hours of sunshine with a good mate or two, and some alcohol. What started off as a casual Welcome-Back-To-Melbourne drinks session with my old work colleague, Rob, last night turned into an interesting trivia night of all sorts. Having arrived back in Melbourne for good after a year-long stint at his work’s Canberra office, Rob decided to catch up with two of his favourite ex-workmates (and a non-workmate friend, who happens to be engaged to one of his favourite ex-workmates – the one that isn’t me). We must have spent forever trying to find a bar that was 1) open on Tuesday evenings, 2) within walking distance of our two respective workplaces, 3) had cider on tap and 4) didn’t have hipster patrons. In the end, we ended up at Oxford Scholar, unofficially RMIT university’s student pub hangout.
The plan was to just talk, gossip and bitch over pints of Bulmers and glasses of wine but we ended up joining the trivia competition that they were running on the night. Entering with the team name of “Golden House 888 Lucky” (don’t ask), we set off to beat all the other jokers who filled every other table in the house. Despite our strong start, our lack of local geography knowledge meant that we ended up bombing spectacularly. If we didn’t know that Nabisco (and not Nestlé) manufactured Oreo cookies and had no idea Walmart (and not some mining giant) was the company that made the most revenue in 2010, I’d say that it’s pretty clear that neither of us would ever be admitted into Oxford University. Still, the laughter continued, the drinks kept coming and so did the cursing. As for the food? Well, I played it safe by sticking with the good ol’ pub classic, the humble chicken parma ($16).
Oxford Scholar’s chicken parma isn’t the best, but it’s not the worst I’ve had. It wasn’t overly big compared to others I’ve had, but the fact that there was no sign of dry breast meat (a cardinal sin) made up for it. Taste-wise, I felt that the Napoli sauce could have done with a bit more flavour (you know when there’s something not quite right when the flavour is coming from the Virginian ham, and not the sauce) and the chips, which weren’t overly crunchy, were cooked in very old tallow which gave them a slightly nasty smell. That said, I ate it all (mostly because I was so friggin’ hungry) and it wasn’t overly expensive anyway.
Next time, though, I think I’ll follow Rob’s lead and go for one of the pasta dishes as they do a $12 pasta special on Tuesday nights. And brush up on my geography before the next trivia night, perhaps. Heh!