I was recently up in Melbourne for a week for (among other things) the inaugural Australian Food Blogger's Conference, EatDrinkBlog, and after all the fine dining I really needed an old school pub meal to take the edge off all the fancy (it was getting expensive).
More on EatDrinkBlog later (and if you can't wait, click here), but for now...I'm still thinking about my parma, and a lot of football paraphernalia.
The Rose has all the things I love about real pubs. Ashtray wells beneath the bar (but no smoking of course), heavy wooden tables that don't wobble, a dart board, Nobby's nuts, a faded rotating GB sign and a clock perpetually stuck on 6.30.
It was a small shame that there was no beer garden, but not much could be done about that really. There are a few tables outside for smokers, but that is all the outdoor space on offer. The Rose is more of a winter pub, best to be cosy inside with your comfort food, and leave the sunny summer dining for other, more expensive, gastro-pubs.
There is a bit of a sporting theme here, and I can only imagine what the bar must be like on the night of a big game. I'm usually dead against TV and food in the same location, but judging by the amount of Fitzroy FC souvenirs, it would be rude to deny these locals their game.
It was a tough dinner decision from a menu that probably hasn't changed since 1970. I was initially quite taken by the corned beef with mustard sauce, mash and veg ($13/$16) but made a last minute change to an old favorite, veal parma with salad and chips ($13). Why I chose veal, I have no idea as I don't eat it as a general rule and I have my doubts about how ethically produced it might have been - I must have been quite drunk.
Although I only ordered the small size it was still enormous. I ate it all of course (as I said, drunk). I even ate the slice of white baguette that all the meals seemed to come with, which was clearly from Coles and had been spread with margarine. To be honest, I really should have skipped it.
The Rose offers nothing special, and that's what makes it so. The food is ridiculously inexpensive, the beer is cold and the carpets worn... and I liked it. Just try not to tell too many people, we wouldn't want them to get all uber-cool and put the prices up.
During the course of the evening, which also featured a few pints of Coopers Pale (bargain priced at $8 each), my dinner date managed to score herself a job here. I haven't touched base with her yet, but I assume her trial shift went well. So if you happen to pop in to The Rose and are served by a gorgeous, red headed, rock and roll looking lass, send her my love.
The Rose Hotel
406 Napier Street, Fitzroy
(03) 9417 3626
Kitchen open Mon-Sat 6pm-10pm, Sunday 1pm-3pm