Ralph’s Bar and Eatery
Interesting how some food clusters happen – the corner of Dominion Road and Valley/Walters Roads has become burger central. Murder Burger, Burger Fuel and Wendy’s have been joined by Ralph’s Bar and Eatery. Although the menu at Ralph’s offers way more than burgers, they are definitely a highlight on the menu.
Ralph’s is located in the premises originally known as Seresin and then briefly as Mink Cafe, tucked just off Dominion Road on Walters Road. It has the same owners as Vinyl Coffee Shop, another veteran Dominion Road cafe. Eventually Vinyl will move into the same premises as Ralph’s, so that it operates as Vinyl by day and Ralph’s by night.
The vibe of Ralph’s is casual retro and you can choose to sit in the main restaurant area or the adjacent covered courtyard. Be aware that smoking is allowed in this courtyard, and the smell of cigarettes wafted through to the restaurant.
We perused our way through the menu and my husband and daughter quickly honed in on the Ralph’s Cheeseburger ($18) with free range streaky bacon, French’s mustard, pickle and chipotle mayo, plus a choice of either curly fries or slaw. Not feeling like having either the Pork Belly Burger ($18.50) or the Sloppy Joe ($16.50), I decided to try a selection of snacks/starters. Ralph’s also has three main course dishes ranging from $24-$28, which unfortunately is beyond our Cheapeats budget. The burgers may seem highly priced, but they do include a side, and they did prove to be generous portions.
There is an interesting selection of snacks and starters, which ranges from olives and bread through to patata bravas and summer ceviche. My selection ended up being a celebration of the art of the deep-fryer: Ralph’s awesome fried chicken with chipotle mayo ($14), Deep fried Kosher pickles with chipotle mayo ($8) and Savoury cheesy croquetas flecked with Spanish cured meat ($8). I also ordered a side of Slaw with toasted nuts and apple ($6) to balance out the richness of my order and also since both my husband and daughter had opted to ordered their burgers with fries.
We ordered beer and plum cider to sip on with our meals ($10 each).
My dishes arrived quickly and all of them were well-cooked with crispy coatings. There were five pieces of chicken accompanied by chipotle mayo and garnished with pickle slices. This meant that I really didn’t need the deep-fried Kosher pickle. It had a lovely crunchy coating and was also accompanied with chipotle mayo (the dipping sauce of choice at Ralph’s). Not sure if the croquetas are a carry-over from the days of Seresin, but these had a thin crisp crumbed coating, and an almost gooey soft filling. My favourite of my deep-fried trio would have to be the chicken, as it had a lovely crunchy coating and tender chicken meat, and the pickle slices cut through the richness of the meat and mayo sauce.
The slaw was the perfect accompaniment to these rich dishes. The cabbage was thinly sliced and had been tossed with lots of fresh herbs and a light vinaigrette-style dressing.
The cheeseburgers were a generous meal. The thick burger patty was cooked to medium, piled with the garnishes and all served up in a lightly toasted bun. The curly fries were perfectly cooked and all of them disappeared quickly from the plates. My daughter was defeated by the burger, so I happily helped her complete it.
There is a dessert menu at Ralph’s, but we were way too full to even investigate.
Ralph’s is a great neighbourhood bar and restaurant to socialise with friends or family. Once Vinyl Coffee Shop moves in, it will be worth visiting morning, noon or night.