THE ROYAL HOTEL attracts a mature demographic that appealed to this 36-year-old dad of two.
My days of crippling hangovers are gone, so I enjoyed going to a pub that wasn’t packed with annoying 20-somethings getting smashed on Jager Bombs and lolly-flavoured Cruisers.
Recently the 140-year-old hotel underwent a stunning renovation that showcases its heritage, including the gorgeous wrap-around-verandah and wide wooden floorboards.
It’s all very tasteful and something that older punters will appreciate.
There are two dining options at The Royal: You can enjoy an intimate dining experience at the recently opened Fluer or have a casual bite to eat from the bar menu.
We went for the bar option because we wanted to sit on the verandah overlooking Yagan square and people-watch.
The menu is crammed with tempting treats like a deli meat sandwich with cream cheese and red wine vinegar and caper dipping sauce ($14), and a beef roll with chimichurri sauce, charred short rib and bone marrow (a popular $18 dish on Instagram).
About a year ago, Mandelena’s in South Fremantle started a trend by serving fish fillets with the head on.
Some might see this as a ghastly way to serve a delicate piece of flathead, but I felt a sinister pleasure eating something that eyeballed me while I devoured its deep-fried flesh.
The two flathead fillets ($23) were moist and firm and the herb panko breadcrumbs added texture and depth.
Flathead fillets are notorious for fine bones, but I didn’t mind working for something so delicious.
I often daydream about fried chicken, and The Royal’s boneless interpretation with fire dust seasoning and kewpie mayonnaise ($16) hit the mark.
When you cook fried chicken off the bone you risk it being dry, but these chunky fillets where succulent, spicy and perfectly crunchy.
Kewpie is so creamy and smooth it would make eating cardboard pleasant, but the accompanying cucumber pickle was underwhelming.
The Wagyu rump cap minute steak ($34) was exceptional value.
The 200 gram hunk of beef was a very tender medium rare, and served with two huge sides – beans coated in butter and garlic, and a rich dreamy potato Lyonnaise with smoky crème fraiche and chives.
We had the black pepper butter with our steak and we didn’t regret it – delicious.
The Royal is perfect for any occasion; from a casual catch-up with mates to a more sophisticated dinner.
A few days after my last visit, I’m already planning my next.
By MATTHEW EELES
The Royal Hotel
531 Wellington Street, Perth