35 Anderson St, Yarraville. Phone: 9687 2034
We’ve had a heap of meals at our local pub over the years.
None of them have been great, some of them have been good, some of them have been just OK, some of them we’ve said rude things about.
But where we were once rather dismissive of the pub fare on offer, we are now converts – of a sort.
The catalyst for this is a chilly mid-week night.
We feel like a break from the arduous work/school/eat/sleep routine.
We don’t feel like cooking. We do feel like a quick, cheap feed.
But nor do we feel like hopping in the car for a jaunt to Footscray.
So off we go to peruse our back-yard options.
After examining the bar menu at the pub, and going “Nah, not this time”, we stroll around the corner to Ballarat St.
We check out no less than five menus, and are dismayed to find them all beyond our mood or means.
We’ve become accustomed to the super-cheapness of Lebanese pizzas, so paying $16 or more for an Italian version doesn’t appeal.
Nor do we feel up to paying $24 for pasta.
And so on … and that’s just half the Ballarat St options, but I doubt the rest offer much variation.
Truth is, while Yarraville has myriad good food possibilities, it is sorely lacking the sort of choices that allow us to grab a quick and healthy bite for under $10 each – so easily had in Footscray.
Even at Nando’s or Burger Edge, the bill can exceed budgets, especially when a full-on meal is sought.
And the fish and chip shop lacks seating facilities.
So back to the pub we go.
It still has a metal sign that reads Railway Hotel under the Blarney Stone painted signage.
And therein lies its charm.
While it got swept up in the bloody silly Irish-themed pub syndrome that swept across Melbourne several years ago, nothing has changed.
Sure there’s a bit of Irish artwork around the place, and maybe a few more backpackers and travellers come and go, but basically it remains a well-worn home of a steady and loyal and mostly blue-collar crowd.
No pokies, but much beer and punting
As a holdout amid the solid yuppieness that surrounds it, the Blarney Stone/Railway Hotel is to be treasured.
And as such, applying any of our usual foodie standards – be they concerned with flavour, healthiness or pricing – seems both superfluous and ridiculous.
Even here, though, the bistro is a but rich for us, so the bar menu it is.
Bennie goes for the $12 burger – not for the first time.
This time around, it’s a tidy package that holds together well. It’s more in the style of an Aussie burger than its American counterpart, but he makes quick work of the lot, so to speak. All the chips follow likewise.
I order the chicken parma with chips and salad at a cost of $13.
This is less successful.
Disappointingly, the salad bits are little more the inconsequential embellishment.
The chicken is moist, but more like your typical chicken breast than a flattened piece of chook, parma-style. The very thin slice of ham add a surprising level of flavour and goes well with the cheese and bol sauce.
It’s an unusual option for me to pursue, so obviously I’m no expert. But I suspect it’d fall short of raising robust enthusiasm from hardened parma fans.
Still, it suffices. And the chips are fine.
Presumably, this could be ordered for $10 on a Thursday, which is Parma Night.
Tuesdays are anointed Locals Night and Wednesdays Pasta Night.
Our “local” will never be cherished among our favourites, but sometimes it’s just right.
And for dad at least, it is a handy stopover for a post-work or pre-footy beer.
Take it as it is or not at all.