Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Dick Bistro (St. Kilda) 08/2010

The story of Dick Whittington and his cat, which was as familiar to my generation as PlayStation is to children today, has largely been forgotten. In brief it is the tale of a poor orphan who had heard that the streets of London were paved with gold so he set off there only to arrive cold hungry penniless and miserable and find the streets as bare of gold as everywhere else. Exhausted he fell asleep outside the house of a wealthy merchant who took him in and employed him as a scullery boy. This was a lowly servant position doing the most menial tasks.
Dicks' room was infested with rats and after earning a penny shining a gentleman's boots, he bought a cat which drove off the rats. Some time later his employer invited him to send something on one of his ships to sell for gold. Dick reluctantly sent his cat.
Although Dick was happy in his work he was mistreated by the cruel cook and eventually ran away. Before he got far he heard the Bow Bells, evidently they can be heard for six miles. They seemed to be saying to him "Turn again Whittington, thrice Lord Mayor of London" He returned to his employer to find that his cat had been sold for a fortune and he was now wealthy. He joined his employer's business, married his daughter and did indeed become Lord Mayor of London, as the bells predicted, three times!
So that's the story. Just what that might have to do with the Dick Whittington Tavern, the restaurant attached to the hotel of the same name at 32 Chapel St., St.Kilda I have no idea.
The Tavern occupies a pleasant room warmed by a wood fire.

Table cloths are covered with butcher paper and each has a glass with crayons presumably for either children or frustrated graffitti artists.
The fairly standard menu is supplemented with specials chalked up on blackboards around the room. They also offer pub poker on Tuesday nights, half price meals for ladies on Wednesday nights happy hour on Thursday and accept Entertanment Book vouchers for a complimentary meal up to $30 when another main meal of equal or greater value is purchased.
We dropped in for dinner, they also serve lunch, and enjoyed a very satisfying meal. There were quite a few specials on blackboards around the room and I chose to have their Black Angus porterhouse steak ($28) served with thick potato chips and salad. Vegetables was an option I'll try another time (Yes I will go again)

My companion, Sandra is away, had fish and chips ($22) preferring grilled to battered. The steak, a decent size serve with mushroom sauce, was very good. Quite tender, only a trifle more cooked than requested, I'd happily have it again. Garden salad was very plain, offered with no dressing. Chips were crisp and well seasoned. The fish was, I'm told, quite acceptable with lemon, tartare or a sweet sour sauce. Strangely it came with shoestring chips.
We finished with a rich, perfectly cooked, self saucing chocolate pudding.

Whilst not haute cuisine this is definitely better than the average pub.
Score: 13.75/20

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