Tasting Melbourne – The Wharf Hotel, Southbank

Howdy all and time for the first modern-day review of something or some place for a while. And today I’m taking you with me to The Wharf Hotel, where they have a great little restaurant on the banks of the Yarra. It’s a bar too, and seems to have fair capacity both inside and out for patrons. When I recently visited the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre to see the Brickman Lego Jurassic World exhibition, I was done there around lunch time and needed a place to eat,

And then I remembered ‘The Wharf’. This had been an important venue in my life during 2016. It’s a bit of a sports’ bar as well as restaurant you see, with a bit of merchandise here and there on display. And in 2016 the Western Bulldogs, my beloved Australian Rules Football team actually won the entire thing when they became the only team ever to rise through the finals to become premiers. Sadly not a feat they have been able to repeat since, but we live in hope!

It was here that Bulldogs’ fans aplenty, in at least our hundreds, gathered one woolly September night to watch the Preliminary Final, the match that chooses who makes the Grand Final, the Big Dance. In my lifetime we had made the Preliminary Final a total of seven times. Our record in Prelims was this – Won- 0 Lost – 7. For us this match was just as big as the Grand Final in many ways. We all gathered here to watch it on big screens, eating and drinking of course, cheering and exclaiming, as one of the most epic games of football unfolded before our very eyes.

It was in Sydney against the newest team in the league, the Greater Western Sydney Giants. We had been underdogs in every final including this one. But somehow, when the final siren went we had won by less than a goal and had broken our hoodoo. The tears of joy flowed freely it is fair to say.

But this year I sat down as one of the few patrons at the Wharf which had not long reopened after Melbourne’s fourth lockdown of the pandemic. So it was quiet, but the service was very friendly. I was brought a menu, it was actually very small, only a handful of mains’ dishes to choose from. This has become a common thing too thanks to lockdowns, restaurants city-wide have shrunk their menus because there can be a lot of issues ordering things in and they also have to be aware that if a lockdown was suddenly called, they may need to chuck a lot of stock out. The wider the food range, the bigger that problem can potentially become.

Steaks, burgers, I think a couple of vegan options, but when I was told their was a special on the Chicken Parmigiana, at only $15, well I couldn’t refuse although I felt the pressure of this review thinking I should possibly order something different. But if a place can’t make a good parmigiana, well, it probably has issues!

So, the ‘parma’. Well, the size was LARGE. And I didn’t quite finish it and probably should have stopped a few bites earlier. It was chicken snitzel with mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce and ham, and they had also popped some parmesan cheese on top of it all.

So, it was okay. Not as juicy as it could have been, and that’s because I think it had been overcooked. Not quite burnt, but overcooked. The best part, the tastiest part, was the middle, it was especially dry and crusty on the outside. Chips were okay, so was the salad. Not a failure, but could have better. The parmesan didn’t work for me, but for some reason regardless of the fact I like cheese, Parmesan I don’t like.

It was well-priced though and in a great location, I think it’s more a place for beers and drinks rather than food as well,  but suits for both. Not a very exotic menu by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s a good, solid place to eat and/or drink.  But for me, it will always be special because of that last Saturday Night in 2016.

See also – An Eerie Day in Melbourne Featuring Dinosaurs

Thanks for reading! Take care and May the Journey Never End!

4 thoughts on “Tasting Melbourne – The Wharf Hotel, Southbank

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