Eating Out / South Melbourne

Dinner in the garden at the Railway Hotel, South Melbourne

Railway Hotel
280 Ferrars Street (Corner of Bank Street)
South Melbourne

It was a Saturday night a week after we got home from Vietnam and both Mr Behemoth and I were craving something to eat that didn’t come with rice. Pub grub was mooted, and we thought we’d revisit our love of the dish known as chicken parma. I remembered that the Railway Hotel had a really nice beer garden (did I mention it was a hot night?) from a previous visit where I dined on snacky things rather than actual meals, and thus the decision was made and we set off without doing any research, like looking up the menu.

We were met by the friendly waitress and seated, waters were poured and menus were handed out. And then – while Mr Behemoth was in the bathroom – disaster struck. I read the menu. No parma! The place was too classy for that!

We had a bit of a dilemma then because we were seated and already had drinks. So we decided reluctantly (isn’t it a pain when you already know what you want) to eat other things. C’est la vie.

We ordered chips with chilli mayo to begin. Sure, we were missing out on the parma, but damnit, we could still order the side dishes. The chips were perfect with just the right amount of salt and crunch to them and the chilli mayo on the side was fantastic. Things were looking up.

Chips and chilli mayo - Railway Hotel

The lighting was a bit dark - these chips tasted far better than this photo looks.

The menu was a bit more expensive than we had expected for main meals (but then again we thought we were going to the kind of pub that served parmas, so…).

I ordered the scotch fillet steak ($29) with smashed potatoes and garlicky vegetables and chose green peppercorn sauce of the available sauce options. I ordered it medium rare, but when it came it was more like medium. The vegetables were good if a little cold, the steak was okay, I didn’t love the sauce (think I should have gone with my gut and got the garlic butter) – but was I just downgrading it because in my heart of hearts I wanted a parma? Also scotch fillet generally has a lot of fatty gristly bits that I don’t love. Here’s a fairly dodgy iphone pic of my meal (I’m such a guerrilla blogger):

Scotch fillet steak at the Railway Hotel

I dumped out all the peppercorns at once on my steak, which was a little dumb.

I had serious dish envy when Mr Behemoth’s order of the Moroccan lamb with couscous came out, particularly as I had toyed with ordering it as well but fell victim to the food blogger (or just general foodie) curse of “I can’t order what my companions are ordering”. The dish had pine nuts, plump juicy sultanas, yoghurt, and pearl couscous – ticking all my boxes – and presentation was great. Look at that pink juicy lamb below:

Moroccan lamb, Railway Hotel

Your humble correspondent had serious dish envy at this one.

I think the visuals were a bit better than the taste. Mr Behemoth said it was “okay, not great” and small for the price. Again, take this review with a grain of salt – if I was disappointed about not getting a parma, Mr B was super-duper disappointed.

The Railway Hotel’s staff are super friendly; the beer garden is great; and they are clearly trying to step the food up a notch from the normal counter meals – although I think they’re more successful with the snacks and entree type things. There are some really positive reviews of their Wednesday Night Steak Nights on Urbanspoon where the steak is $14 – I think I’d love it a lot more for $14. I’ll have to come back and give it a go.

Read on for an account of how we finally satisfied the parma craving

Railway Hotel - South Melbourne on Urbanspoon

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