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Published July 4th 2012
Where is Melbourne's Best Seniors' Meal? Photo by Brian Cresswell
There are a lot of us who do our duty by our parents; making their lives a little easier now they are elderly. Once they cooked multi-course family meals for us, but now we are mostly too busy to return the favour.
There is also that nagging worry about whether they are eating properly.
One answer is to take them out for a meal. Coffee shops are worthy choices as are garden cafes. But these places usually offer little more than glorified sandwiches even if they do come dressed up on Turkish bread or modern fare which our parent's don't necessarily appreciate. Their palates aren't necessarily attuned to the joys of raw fish or salmon roe with grated radish and chilli.
What they need is a well rounded meal that supplants the three course meal you might have cooked them yourself if you only had the time.
Thank goodness therefore for that rather neat little package known as the senior's meal. It is the staple of pubs and clubs.
Usually these places are pokies venues which subside the cost of such meals. But if you stay put in the dining room and don't succumb to the glimpse of whirling lights and the loud clatter of someone else's winnings (I think they microphone that sound) then you can avoid all that bedlam and just enjoy a cheap meal.
Having a mother of 92, means there has been years of going to such places because I know she enjoys the luxury of a three course meal that someone else cooks.
Thankfully at 92 my mother still enjoys the pleasures of food
There are some woeful RSL clubs which are ding, shabby and offer some bad, salty overcooked food. The Box Hill RSL is not one of them. This is a sparkling modern establishment with views over parklands from wall to ceiling windows plus a great decking area so you can eat outside on a sunny day.
The seniors' meal here is a speciality. First comes a hearty home-made soup such as lentil and bacon or beef and vegetable served with soft rolls and butter. There is a varied choice for mains but always fish, steak and a daily roast. Instead of just coming with the normal trio of potatoes, peas and carrots there is always a wide assortment of vegetables such as aubergines, grilled capsicum and cauliflower. Dessert is frequently homemade cake or fruit salad with cream.
Seniors' servings are traditionally smaller but here they come in a good size. For parents who need to have soft food there is always items such as little one pot casseroles or bangers and mash and the roasts are always tender. There is an undercover drop off point for the elderly and lifts up from the car park as well as plenty of disabled parking. The toilets are also readily accessible. Gaming area is behind the bar and unobtrusive unless you wish to venture in and help subsidise everyone else's meals. This place is always busy for lunches so book in advance. Make that a couple of days in advance if you want a window seat.
Gorgeous views through the large windows at Box Hill RSL
Not strictly a senior's meal but the Templestowe Hotel has a buffet where seniors get a special price on their lunch or dinner. My mother loves this place because of the variety. Although I suffer the acute embarrassment of continually getting plates of food for the both of us. "Look at her go again" I hear them say. "What a gutz." There are a range of soups, pastas, salads, a carvery (meat is very tender) and international foods including Indian, Italian, Asian and Mediterranean dishes.
The dessert bar is amazing with lots of custards, puddings, jellies, pavlovas and cakes with fresh cream. You can drop your charge at the back entrance where there is a lift that takes them up to restaurant floor. This is also a great venue for extended families. Teenagers love the all you can eat spread of food, and little kids have there own dedicated playroom. There is also a kids eat free (good time to bring the grandchildren) offer available at the Wednesday (6pm session), Friday, Saturday & Sunday for dinner (5.30pm session) and Sunday lunch (11.30am session). It is a slight walk to the toilets depending on where you are seated. Friendly staff. The poker machines are here somewhere but well out of sight and hearing.
Open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week
The special seniors price is
Lunch $19.90 and dinner $22.90 except on Friday night when the cost is $27.90
There is also a special local night on Monday night which is $19.90.
23-29 Parker St
Telephone: 9850 4866
There are some reasons for visiting here and it isn't the food. For a start who doesn't like to go somewhere with the name "country club". It has that air of specialness and exclusivity. Plus the dining room is gorgeous. White table clothes, rich carpeting, striking light fixtures and a cosy bar. Food, in my opininion, is unfortunately average. Admittedly there is only a small dining room but the senior's choices are limited to roast and then fried items such as schnitzel, fish in batter and calamari all served with chips unless you specify vegetables. Dropping off can be a little difficult as I couldn't see a dedicated area for this purpose.
As madame inched her way from the car, flailing her walking stick at drivers we kept a few people waiting. You walk past the gaming room on your way in but if you keep your focus averted to the left then you do not even have to look at it. This place is worth the visit for the lovely surroundings of 20 picturesque hectares alongside the Yarra River. Plus after your parent returns to their retirement home they can always tell their friends: "My daughter took me to the Country Club for lunch."
Open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week
2 course senior meal is $13.50
Great Article! My Parents like Dorset Gardens in Croydon. Last visit they had trouble getting through the main course it was so substantial and had to forgo dessert! 2 course lunch is $14.50 and 3 course lunch is $17.50. Choice of 3 entrees, 7 mains and 4 desserts. Delicious food and nice surroundings too.
My parents can't go past the Club in Caroline Spings it is not the one that is on the list link in the article. This the new one on the corner of Ballarat road and Caroline Springs boulevard. And I have tried the non senior meals and their food is pretty good.