The Fitzroy River Lodge is one of two places to eat in the small rural town of Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia. Like The Crossing Inn (the other of the two), The Fitzroy River Lodge has a bar, a restaurant and a number of accommodation options. The Fitzroy River Lodge is certainly the more upmarket of the two with the restaurant having al fresco dining overlooking the beautiful outback. Originally the bar of choice for Caucasians back in the day, there now seems to be an equal split between race, very different from the other bar in town! The Fitzroy River Lodge maintains it’s traditional outback charm with the majority of patrons wearing jeans, a checked shirt, cowboy hat and boots. It’s not all locals though as this is a popular place with tourists and passers by
The Lounge Bar and the Riverside Restaurant have different menus and I’ve currently only eaten in the former. The bar is large and spacious with a few canteen-style tables dotted around big TV screens showing the latest AFL game or News programme. The Fitzroy River Lodge has the most extensive alcohol collection in town including a range of spirits and a small selection of wine. I particularly like the house red, a Hardy’s Shiraz/Cab Sav which, at $8.50 a glass, is pretty reasonable for a town without a Bottle-O.
Living on a diet of beef and bacon, I was pleased to find fish on the menu. My first meal with the crew, back when I was too shy to take pictures, was grilled burramundi with chips. Now, I absolutely love burramundi but this one tasted unusually fishy and a bit ‘off’. My colleague Ele agreed as she had ordered the same. My disappointment was made up for by the chips which were extremely moorish. I don’t usually eat chips because I am very fussy with what I like and I don’t see the point in indulging in something so unhealthy unless it’s just the way I like it (life should be perfect right? 😉 . These chips were great, not at all fluffy but nice and crisp on the outside. There was a fresh side salad too which I took my time savouring. Ahhh veggies.
On my second visit to The Fitzroy River Lodge Lounge Bar I had a Greek salad with halloumi, feta cheese and added a skewer of grilled prawns too. I was still dreaming about this salad weeks after having it, not just because I miss the widely available fresh salads in Melbourne but because it was a pretty good salad, both fresh and a generous sized portion. This dish has become my standard order, often swapping prawns for smoked salmon and leaving off the halloumi which the last three times has been overly salty.
The chicken burger and chicken Parma, both served with chips, are the go-to dishes with the rest of the group as they love the chips and huge bits of chicken. A good hearty meal like this is the perfect way to end a hard days work on the station. Everyones plates are cleared in mintues each time we go so I’m gathering all meals are enjoyed by all.
I recently indulged in a white chocolate and berry Panna Cotta served with vanilla ice cream, my first ‘proper’ dessert in months and I’d certainly have another. There’s a choice of three desserts on the board behind the bar which changes daily, maybe I should challenge myself to try them all 😉
With no takeaway shops in town and just a small supermarket for groceries, the bar can be a lifesaver when you run out of food at home or like me on my day off, too hungover to cook. I always grab a pizza-to-go to enjoy in bed with a movie. Bliss! The pizzas do vary in quality each time but are generally pretty darn tasty. Hawaiian and BBQ chicken & bacon are my favourite.
The Fitzroy River Lodge Lounge Bar is a good place to enjoy an informal meal out, a real treat for those working on cattle stations like me. It’s so nice to eat something other than beef and to have the option of choosing what you fancy, plus a range of alcohol including Matso’s Mango Beer from Broome (the ginger beer is far nicer!)
Although the food at The Lounge Bar isn’t as good quality as many restaurants I’ve been to, it’s certainly pretty good, especially for somewhere in The Kimberley region. Prices are slightly higher than the norm but this is expected for somewhere so remote and I am happy to pay $28 for fish & chips because out here it’s a real luxury and will keep me satisfied for days. I hope to visit the more formal restaurant attached to the lounge bar despite the rather inflated prices – think $40 a main. It will be interesting to see whether a high-end restaurant out here can maintain reasonable standards. There’s certainly no denying that the Lounge Bar provides a decent feed in the heart of Fitzroy Crossing.
Living life, loving The Lounge Bar,