Buongiorno, bonjour and “g’day”! (don't you like how they're all the same thing? ~ who knew Australian vernacular was so cosmopolitan???).

Also, "a good day to you, sir/maam" for our American pals, "Ni Hao" to China, and "Здравствуй" to our Russian comrades, "etcetera etcetera and so forth"... (for Yul Brynner).

It’s your old pal Kit (Christof) Fennessy here. I've been writing this blog with your help for ten years, and there's over a hundred and fifty recipes, restaurant reviews of Australia and around the world, and general gourmet articles in these pages for you to fritter away your idle hours on.

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Now, what's on the bill of fare today?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Royal Standard Hotel

333 William St
West Melbourne  VIC  3003

Happy Australia Day (or Invasion Day – whichever you prefer)!

It’s a day off work, there’s cricket on the radio, the Australian Open is on the TV, there’s been a say no to racism rally a la cita, and Triple J’s Hottest 100 is on the airwaves.  Outside our studio, I can hear people drinking beer on the footpath in Fitzroy.

What could be more Australian than that?

(Alright then; “The 3 B’s: beers, BBQ and the beach”, as Robbie McEwan might say).

Well, here’s something.  Last night I went to a great pub, and thought I’d give it a burl on the blog, especially since I haven’t written to you this January.  This place was quintessentially Australian, as well as being very authentically Italian… in a second generation way, and fantastic value for money.

It’s not necessarily “fine dining”, with pizza, pasta and parmas on the menu, but they serve excellent food, the venue has a friendly atmosphere, and it’s a proper pub as well.  Only a short walk up the hill from the Vic Market, down the side street next to the church, this is a back street gem practically in the city.

I found myself there at the invitation of a couple of locals, who announced their engagement, and we sat down to a fantastic dinner.  I had the Spaghetti Pescatore (on the menu’s red star recommendation) – seafood pastas being, as my regular readers might recall, my litmus test for any Italian restaurant.
This one was excellent.  I had the entrée size, and it came with half a crab, prawns, calamari, and mussels in a light tomato sauce.  I matched this dish with their rocket and pear salad, a dry white wine, followed by an espresso coffee and their “complimentary port”.

What?  Had I died and gone to 1970’s heaven?  Complimentary port?  Smacker Fitzgibbon, where are you?  They also have their own home made limoncello.

The hostess Lucy was a real card, the food good, the prices reasonable, and the pub section pumping out cold Carlton Draught with the cricket and the tennis on tv screens.

I mentioned at the end of my meal that I was going to write up a blog about it, and my dining companions said:

“Don’t give it too much of a wrap, we want it to remain a secret!”

And secret it is.  Slightly off the beaten track, you can normally get a park out the front easily – though that night it was “The Night Market” at Vic Market and parking was a nightmare; so any other day than then, go there!

If you’re visiting Melbourne from overseas, and looking for an authentic pub experience, you could do far worse than walk up the hill once you’ve been to the market, and see what the locals like.

I rate the Royal Standard a seven out of eight tentacle pub, a true “royal standard”.