A decade ago I was a regular at the Rose hotel, but times and tastes change. They used to do a good kangaroo steak. Recent concerns about the sale of the venue, the opening of a fancy upstairs bar, then another change of operators, made me uncertain what walking in the door would feel like after not having been there for years.

rose-hotel-1 dinner at the new Rose hotel

It’s a relief to see that the front barĀ is newer and brighter but still recognisable, while the back rooms are almost the same as they were. The new menu is good too, with pub staples and a pleasing wine list, which included a spectacular mataro from Barossa producer Izmay (possibly mislabeled and really their aglianico mataro), which was a bargain at $10 a glass.

rose-hotel-2 dinner at the new Rose hotel

We began with ham croquettes, which disappeared in a flash. My friend was determined to have steak and was satisfied with the steak frites ($29), while I was impressed with the parma with fries and salad ($25). These are not bargain pub prices but the quality was evident. The steak was tender and the parma had great flavour, particularly the obviously house-made sauce.

rose-hotel-3 dinner at the new Rose hotel

I’ve recently sampled the parma at the Birmingham hotel on Smith St, which has been described as the best in Melbourne (especially on cheap night Tuesday when it is $10 instead of $21). The parma at the Rose is as tender as that at the Birmingham, not quite as large or fat, but with better ham and sauce.

So fear not Fitzroy residents. The new Rose is just refreshed, not destroyed. It’s solid. On a Tuesday night the Birmingham is frantic with parma lovers pursuing a discount parma but price isn’t everything. A Tuesday night at the Rose is relaxed and homey and you’ll want to return.

dinner at the new Rose hotel

7 thoughts on “dinner at the new Rose hotel

  • 9 June 2016 at 6:44 pm
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    I was a fortnightly diner at The Rose over the past few years, and had a few meals upstairs at the very quiet eatery. Had a few attempts at eating at the new downstairs evolution only to have to leave due to the extreme noise levels! One visit had the ?manager advising us to sit out back because the sound deadening panels were still to arrive and they had many complaints about the sound levels…. I hope they get on top of the hard surface amplification of the noise, (and sitting outside amongst the smoke is not on) as I quite enjoyed the food.

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    • 15 June 2016 at 12:56 pm
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      I went on re-opening night and the noise levels were unbearable. Their Facebook page says they are sorting out this issue but I was there last week and the it was still horribly loud, so we left. I’ll check in again as the Rose was my local but not until they get those acoustic panels installed.

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      • 16 June 2016 at 8:13 am
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        So maybe the carpet that they said became sentient and left on its own accord could be encouraged to come back?

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  • 10 June 2016 at 8:56 am
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    The new owners have poured a lot of effort into the refurb, and I hope its a success. (I happened to be passing one day while the renovations were in full swing and got a tour of the works). I don’t know if they have the formula quite right. The menu is pretty unadventurous, but is priced at the top end for pub food. Locals would probably have the Fox, Napier and Rainbow well ahead on the food side of things. The tap list also isn’t exciting enough to draw the craft beer crowd away from the Terminus, Gertrude, or Forrester’s Hall. I hope they don’t find they are catering for a niche market that doesn’t exist.

    The real test of neighbourhood cred however will be whether the Rose Street Festival continues.

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  • 12 July 2016 at 10:00 pm
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    The new Rose is a marked improvement on the last incarnation. The food is actually very good – I had pasta there earlier tonight, it was delicious. I had been when it first reopened and it was a bit noisy, but tonight I noticed the acoustic panels had been installed and the noise level has gone way down.

    The new staff are much nicer too!

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  • 1 September 2016 at 3:52 pm
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    When the rose changed hands and was purchased by a couple of finance guys, it started its trajectory downwards and it is hard to say with the next change of ownership that anything has improved. The famous and affordable menu was drastically reduced and a lot of the favourite things were removed…no doubt because in the isolated sense they were ‘loss makers’. The problem with this approach is it didn’t take into account the bigger picture and that is, speaking from personal experience, is that a group of us would dine at the rose weekly or more, a couple of times a week. And this wasn’t quick dining….it involved starting with a few beers, ordering oysters (yes they were good), mains, bottles of wine, the cheese board ($10 enough for five) more wine, then dessert…berry crumble or sticky date pudding. Then a few cleansing ales. So the loss making items such as the oysters, the cheeseboard, and maybe the $14 T-bone, were well and truly made up for by the beverage sales…all the while enjoyed amongst the conviviality of other familiar faces doing the same thing. The rose was never going to win an interior design award, but its various nooks made for more comfortable dining. It was never going to be written up in a michelin guide (although if it had there would rarely have been a seat available) The kitchen produced hearty food, as well as weekly offering something more eclectic, like rainbow trout, kangaroo, and gourmet sausages for those feeling a bit more adventurous. There really wasn’t a lot that needed changing to the formula that had evidently worked so well fro many years…maybe the wiring behind the bar, the carpet and toilets, but going by the number of attendees most nights, the formula worked.
    Understandably everyone wants to put their stamp on a business they acquire but looking into the rose one night recently, it appeared the whole place had changed. There were none of the regulars, walls had been removed, and very few patrons…not an encouraging environment.
    The rose will probably amble on, maybe find some new patrons, but they will probably move on just as soon as they hear of another bar.

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  • 12 November 2016 at 10:25 pm
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    Not a patch on the pleasant local it was 30 years ago, Ellen behind the bar, Nan in the corner, Grenville there as usual. The food may have been dimmies unlike the great food there today but you could actually have a conversation. Put back the walls. Make some more intimate spaces.

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