The Robe Hotel is an iconic fixture of the region, and they now have a new, exciting menu bringing a fresh take on pub classics, as well as making ‘luxury’ menu items more accessible.
The new menu is helmed by Head Chef Nathan Cheung, who is going on almost 10 years at The Robe Hotel. Cheung has created a lineup of dishes that include pub favorites such as beef or chicken schnitzels, burgers, local caught fish and chips, as well as his up-scale restaurant style dishes and various chef specials.
Cheung has a passion for sourcing local produce, challenging himself as a chef and supporting his close-knit team.
Having moved to South Australia from the Whitsunday Islands in 2003 and working around the state, Nathan was asked if he could provide some much-needed help at the Robe Hotel. What originally was supposed to be a temporary 6-month stint in the hotel turned into an almost decade long relationship.
He shares with us how his passion for cooking came to be.
“I have always liked to cook from a young age, maybe from helping at home, being raised by a hard working single mother, but also from spending time at my Asian grandmother’s house, who always had something new and tasty being made,” shares Cheung.
“Italian and obviously Asian cuisines are my favourites, but I always try to keep evolving, learning, and not pigeonhole myself into one way of cooking. A lot of what I do is about new cooking techniques, becoming faster and more precise, while maintaining a high quality standard, which can be a downfall at some of pub style venues.”
The Robe Hotel takes advantage of their seaside location by sourcing fresh seafood for their dishes, including crayfish and gummy shark. They also aim to source as much produce as they can from inside South Australia, ensuring their guests get only the freshest, seasonal ingredients.
“We support local products and try to deliver them to the customer at affordable prices. Some of the produce in the area are ‘luxury’ items, but I try my best to work them into the menu so everyone can try it,” continues Cheung.
“I did reinvent a few classic recipes, which is something I like to do, bring the old into the modern, hopefully without taking away from tradition and their classic traits.”
The new menu also features plenty of items from the grill, like grain-fed MSA prime beef and fresh seafood, which are served with seasonal vegetables and sides as well as a real crowd favourite, the chilli crab pasta.
To accompany these dishes, guests can select from a variety of drink options available, from locally sourced wines, beer, as well as cocktails.
The Robe Hotel is considered a hub for the locals, and Cheung has battled through challenging times throughout the years. As is common in the hospitality industry, there is the pressure of training inexperienced team members and dealing with constantly changing staff, due to the ebb and flow of availability during peak periods.
“I’ve worked and run in some busy Kitchens around the country, but nothing else I’ve experienced is like Robe at its peak,” continues Cheung.
“I do love to cook but the thing that drives me the most as a chef is to be the best at making sure the business runs smoothly. I can be quite tough at times, but always fair to get the best out of my staff while trying to keep a casual feel to the work place. I enjoy teaching them new skills to ensure that they keep learning.”
Whether you are a Robe local or just visiting the area, The Robe Hotel is definitely one spot not to miss.
You can find The Robe Hotel at 4 Mundy Terrace, Robe.
For more information, check out their Facebook page.