The Spread Eagle Hotel, Richmond

It has been an insane Sunday.  Woke up early to shovel some cinnamon quinoa porridge into my gob before driving over to Wonga Park for the Tough Bloke Challenge.  After an excellent breakfast at Thyme on the Terrace in Warrandyte, we headed home.  After a quick breather at home, I ducked out to meet up with an old cherished friend before coming home again for a hair colour change, then hooned down to Richmond for a gathering with new friends.  The location – The Spread Eagle Hotel.

First of all, when I think about this place, I can’t help but envision the following dance move:

hahaha – makes me laugh every time

Anyway, I got there just after 5pm and for a Sunday crowd, it was alright.  Most of the patrons were around the bar area; typical bar flies, older youngsters and men in shirts having drinks with other men in shirts.  My crew was sitting at one of the tables in the dining area on the other side of the circular bar.

I really liked the mustard yellow feature panels on the walls and ceilings.  It gave the place a really cheerful and warm touch, and perhaps a bit of elegance compared to the front bar section.  It seems that a few years back, they may have given the place a fresh lick of paint and some new furniture, because while it had that traditional ‘Cheers’ feeling with the friendly bar staff, there was some modernity as well.

It wasn’t long before I started to crave a crumbed chicken titty topped with all the savoury bits, and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was Parma Fest night – $12 parmas with a variety of toppings, like Hawaiian, Mexican, Meat Lovers or Vegetarian.  After the day I had, I wanted meat… and lots of it… (with salad and vegetables on the side, of course!)

From point of order to meal at table – the wait was not noticed, which means it was fast… which might not be a good thing.  This, and the $12 price tag, brought a few things to light in terms of expectations vs. reality.

Expectation vs. Reality
Small piece of chicken Not a bad sized chicken
Factory-crumbed chicken Factory-crumbed chicken
Mediocre toppings Toppings make the parma
Kaka wrinkly old vegetables Delicious vegetables!

The only terrible thing about this cheap parma was the chicken schnitzel, which was clearly factory-made, but the toppings picked up the slack.  On top of the meatlovers parma is bolognese sauce, ham, salami and melted cheese.  I got about two thirds of the way through before my chest started to hurt but I powered on regardless.

The vegetables were lightly steamed so they were still a little crisp, then lightly dressed and seasoned with heaps of pepper, which was a nice change from being seasoned with heaps of salt.  The salad was your typical garden salad with the few strands of carrot or purple cabbage for colour, tossed in a light balsamic dressing.
I did enjoy my time at the Spready.  The staff are down to earth and friendly, the cheap parma was definitely edible, and the atmosphere is perfect for people coming together and chatting over a few beers.  I’d like to come back and try their regular $19 chicken parma, which I hear is of a higher quality to the Parma Fest specimens.
Spread Eagle Hotel on Urbanspoon

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