Howdy all. It’s time for another review. Another ‘tasting’. Another delving into the gastronomic offerings that I have had the privilege (although in some cases it isn’t always a privilege) to try. And Melbourne could well be described as a ‘foodie destination’. It’s offerings are many and extremely varied, to say the least. And today I return to Acland Street, St Kilda, a stretch not too far from the beach, Luna Park and much more in one of Melbourne’s most popular suburbs, that of St Kilda.
And Acland street is a great spot in terms of life and vibrancy, although you do see the opposite of that too from time to time. But there’s a real pulse there that you find in a handful of Melbourne inner city suburbs. Just take the Number 96 tram all the way to the end of the line and that’s where you find yourself.
And then we come to today’s restaurant, named ‘La Roche’. I wanted to find a word that described their menu, so I went to their website to see how they labelled themselves. Well, it was as a ‘local family-run and owned restaurant for 18 years’. But it didn’t claim to be a specific type of cuisine. Even if it said ‘fusion’, I would have had something! But instead I am left to define it.
Well, the name suggests French, Spanish or Italian to me. There was an emphasis on Italian food though – pastas, pizzas, risottos and a generous selection of parmigianas which I will talk about in this review. So, Italian is what I will go for. It’s in a funky setting, dark, looks a little more up market compared to SOME of the places along Acland street, which despite quality do appear to be aimed at backpackers – this is a backpacker hotspot. When backpackers are allowed into Australia it is at least!
La Roche. Interior was dark and nicely atmospheric. Wait staff were very friendly and approachable, and also very ‘St Kilda’ I guess, so don’t expect you know immaculate neat staff if that’s important to you, maybe not the place for you. But I compared the crowds in there to other places on Acland street and it seemed as busy as any, some were much quieter. This was a late lunch, we arrived around 3pm, it was still over half full.
I was there with friend of my YouTube Channel and participant now in a couple of episodes of ‘Melbourne Revealed’, Jock Read-Hill, who is a chef himself. So, I new that if the food was sub-par he would definitely let me know!
The menu was as I said, quite large and there were around 20 different types of parmigiana on it. From the traditional cheese, Napoli sauce and ham on the chicken snitzel to all sorts of different variations on that. For example a ‘Truffle, Mac & Cheese’ Parma, or a ‘Butter Chicken’ Parma.
As enticing as it was to try one of these parmas, I decided to try something that stood out on the menu to me. The Whisky BBQ Ribs. So I went for it as the point of trying a new place is also to try something new to eat I figure! Jock decided to go the Seafood Linguine, which is filled with muscles, prawns, scallops and more in a white wine sauce. Then I thought about an entrée, and they had a special on the ‘Waffle Chicken’, Jock suggested it would be chicken cooked in a waffle iron, so I thought, ‘why not?’
Actually, it was fried chicken on sweet waffles. There was syrup there – possibly maple syrup I can’t find it on the main menu so I expect it was a special only. There was a garlic aioli dip with it too. And this style was followed through on a number of dishes, especially starters with fried chicken a feature, so I don’t know but maybe that makes it southern USA style food? The good news is that this turned out to be pretty good! Unfortunately we got our mains first, which is annoying and in this case, it was pretty daunting!
Because well, my ribs arrived and I could straight away that there was no point at all to ordering a starter. These things were huge – and at $35, pretty good value. The Waffle Chicken or Chicken Waffle was pretty decent in size too. The entrees were generally around $14-$20AUD, but looked good value.
The Whiskey Ribs had a delicious glaze which I expect was some sort of whiskey with BBQ sauce. There must have been at least 12-15 ribs there. I decided to eat half the starter anyway to see what it was like. Then it was time to delve in.
I tried the coleslaw. It was, well coleslaw doesn’t really rock my world but it was fine, as were the chips (fries). But the ribs…
Okay I have only ordered ribs a couple of times in my life. And like… where have they been all my life? I had some the previous week which were pretty nice. But when I saw the size of the this lot, I thought they mustn’t have much meat on them. I was wrong. There was heaps, much more than my previous serve at a different place.
And these were really, really good. Jock had a couple, even I could not finish this much and frankly I only had one mouthful of the coleslaw and a couple of chips. Jock agreed these were mighty fine!
I asked about his dish. I really can’t pass comment on seafood as I don’t eat it, but he thought that it was really good too. And so I think we really hit upon a winner at La Roche. All in all it cost a little over $100AUD, and that included five or six drinks. So I think it was a decently priced restaurant, and one that certainly gave you value for money. Personally, I don’t care how nicely something is ‘plated’, if it’s tiny well, I will not be satisfied! This is the way to go!
Thanks so much for reading today. I do recommend this place if you are in the St Kilda area and looking for a place to eat. You won’t be disappointed! (and no, they didn’t pay me for this review!) Take care, and May the Journey Never End!