Friday, October 2, 2009

Review: The Palmerston Hotel - could it be more vegan unfriendly?

The Palmerston Hotel in South Melbourne

I don't always expect the best vegan fare at your average Melbourne pub but usually I can get by on turning up without researching it first. And when a colleague picked this spot for his birthday lunch I assumed I would be fine.

Despite the decently sized menu at The Palmerston the vegetarian options were slim, and the vegan options non-existant. I'm somewhat used to this and have found that in veggie-friendly Melbourne you can usually let the waiter know you are vegan and they can whip up something for you or adapt a recipe from the menu.

Not so at The Palmerston. After a shocked "What?!" from the waitress when I told her I was vegan she proceeded to ask what that means exactly and did an appalling job at hiding her near disgust at my eating habits. Which I probably wouldn't have minded if she came back with some decent options or at least pasta in napoli sauce. Instead she returned asking if I could eat fish and when I said no I was presented with the following choices:


Resignedly I opted for both. But in hindsight should have opted for neither.

The salad was shredded iceberg with a few slices of tomato and cucumber on top. I was actually insulted by how bad it was and how boring it implied my tastebuds to be. And the average fries came with a nice generous dollop of sour cream so obviously it was only the 'boring' part that registered in the waitress' head as opposed to the 'no dairy' part.

And all that aside, it was embarrassing having such an unsatisfying meal in front of everyone. For those who didn't really know what vegans eat I was ashamed to have that sitting in front of me as an example.

The Palmerston Hotel
0/10 Service
0/10 Food


  1. I live in South Melbourne, and I'm glad that I decided not to go to the Palmerston the other week. The Rising Sun hotel on Eastern road/Raglan street were very accommodating, so if you're looking to eat in South Melbourne, that's a better choice.

  2. Oh how awful!
    Personally, I would have gone hungry but I know that sometimes the people who invite you out to these places feel uncomfortable whenyou don't eat.
    Thanks for the heads up!

  3. i think the palerston was actually vosted for best chicken parma (in mlebourne) on

  4. I find that so frustrating. I went to a pub near my work for lunch one day, explained I was vegan & they gave me a bowl of lettuce with cheesey croutons. When I complained about the croutons they returned with a bowl of lettuce. Apparently that is all vegans can eat!

  5. Mmm, yep, been there for fries and garden salad! I don't mind so much if I don't call ahead to arrange something or if they're at least nice about it, but I get really snitchy when they're dense and unhelpful. Waiters who don't understand what you're asking for should just say so, and chefs who are unwilling to cook something separate should also just tell you instead of sending out crap food.

  6. Yeah, it was pretty disappointing. They WERE voted best Parma, and you would think if they have pasta dishes and some tomato stuff that they whack on the parma they could surely come up with something edible for vegans.

    The Maori Chief in South Melbourne on the other hand, they are brilliant. Admittedly they don't have a lot of vegan options on the menu, but they do have vegetarian ones. And they are definitely accomodating at whipping up a vegan meal for you.

    Will also have to keep Rising Sun in mind for next pub outing here!