LAST time I was in the Hyde Park Hotel I was wearing flares and humming the theme tune to M*A*S*H.
Well it wasn’t quite that long ago, but it’s been many years, so I was pleasantly surprised by the hotel’s refurbishment which has brought it kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
One of the best improvements is the creation of three distinct zones – sports bar, courtyard and restaurant, providing areas to suit all different ages and tastes (we’ve all been in so-called pub lounges where families don’t feel welcome and regulars get irritated by over-zealous kids).
The menu was unashamedly Aussie pub classics like parmies, burgers, fish and chips, and pizzas.
There was also daily specials like chicken pie ($20) and pan-seared barramundi ($32), as well as parmie and steak nights, and a discounted seniors menu.
There were was no childrens menu which was a bit surprising, but there were entree and share dishes, so we ordered beef and onion sausage rolls ($13) and chips ($9) for the kids (don’t tell Jamie Oliver).
You could tell the sausage rolls were made in-house – the glazed pastry and thick rolls of dark meat looked irresistible.
I had a sneaky taste and the beef was delicious with not a hint of gristle and a surprisingly sweet refrain that hinted at carrot or sweet onion.
It was steak night on Tuesday so I ordered the porterhouse ($25), but a few minutes later a staffer appeared at our table saying it wasn’t actually available, so I went for the Scotch fillet instead ($28).
The 300gm slab was cooked medium, and had juicy pink flesh and a lovely smoky, chargrilled flavour.
The accompanying mushroom sauce wasn’t too salty or rich and had tiny pieces of funghi, adding a subtle texture.
You can get the steak with chips and salad, but I went for smashed potatoes and seasonal veggies for a change. There was plenty of broccoli and potatoes, and a life-extending mix of bok choy and green beans.
It was a mouth-watering slab of beef and everything was perfectly cooked, but something was missing to bring it all together and elevate this dish from a B+ to an A. Either that or my brain is too accustomed to chips.
Across the table my wife was enjoying her huge, heart-shaped chicken parmigiana, which came with chips and a ramekin of creamy coleslaw ($24).
“The Napoli sauce is rich and moreish, and they haven’t skimped on the delicious ham,” she said.
“The chicken is succulent and I like how they’ve used panko breadcrumbs and parmesan in the coating. A nice twist.
“Creamy is the word I’d use to describe the chunky American-style slaw, which goes well with the crispy chips.
“All in all a top dish.”
The Hyde Park Hotel certainly looks the part and serves superior pub grub without quite breaking into the very top echelon.
There was a hiccup with our order, but it was quickly rectified by the pleasant and efficient staff.
I’ll return sooner next time, and might even dress up as Klinger for old times’ sake.
Hyde Park Hotel
331 Bulwer Street, West Perth
by STEPHEN POLLOCK