06 December, 2007

Rathdowne Tavern

184 Rathdowne St, Carlton; 03 9348 1133

Peeling paint, faded signage, scrawled writing on chalkboards. That's the exterior of the Rathdowne Tavern. One of those chalkboards advertised the $10 Tuesday bar special - a particular dish each week plus a pot of beer. And hence we discovered the interior: fresh, bright paint, oodles of sunlight, friendly bar staff and a turnover of happy patrons.

The selected dish was roast chicken:
Half a bird in fact, squashing an ample pile of very sharp (endive?) greens, and dwarfing a handful of fries. The chicken was marinated with thyme and lemon and was impressively moist throughout, with a bit of crisp on the bits of skin closest to the cooking element. The flesh was still quite pink, perhaps inevitable if you're going to turn out a hundred or so birds in a night in quick time - given it was of ample size, juicy and had been looked after with a decent marinade, something had to be cut short, and presumably its cooking time.
For $10, including a pot, a convivial atmosphere of customers happy with quality food at a great price, and friendly bar staff, it represents excellent value.

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