Attempt #120 - 'The Carlton'


When? – 25/10/12

Where? – The Carlton. 193 Bourke St. Melbourne

Price? - $23 (with a Monday and Thursday lunch special)

Website? -

Reviewers – Grace, Lee, Nikki, Tony[/info]

We finally made it to The Carlton!

For those with short memories (or new readers, If you’re new, Welcome! it’s great to have you here, I hope you’re enjoying yourself… What have you been up to lately?) The Carlton won the vote a few weeks back, but due to some kitchen problems they were unable to serve us a parma on the Thursday night, and we opted for The Elephant & Wheelbarrow instead.

It wasn’t fair that The Carlton didn’t get a go after a little slip up, they had won the vote fair and square, so rather than put up a new selection last week we called The Carlton the winners and headed over (while we’re on the subject, Voting for next week is open until Monday night, go and tell us where to go!).

Walking into the lobby of the multi-storey pub this promo caught my eye…

A very clever wording on that poster. “Vote for the best parma in town”, not “Voted”. Its a request, not a statement. Very sneaky Carlton, Very sneaky indeed!

I am very very sneaky sir… (interesting side note, Mr. Deeds is the only movie I’ve seen that features chicken parma. Adam Sandler takes Winona Ryder to a date and serves her parmas. The parmas stole the scene)

We snaked our way through the fairly busy Carlton and found a table in the dining room tucked in the back, I don’t know where to start describing the decor of The Carlton, “Eclectic” doesn’t even begin to cover it, think of a Safari Lodge while on LSD and you’re getting there. With red walls, polka dot rhino heads on the wall and a full sized Ostrich wearing a pearl necklace by the door, and that’s just the beginning.

The menu is straightforward, down to earth bar food. We found our target and placed the order. From where we were sitting we had a view of the kitchen door, meals must be popular on a Thursday as the door barely stopped swinging, with a tasty looking dish emerging each time. After a few swings our parmas arrived…

The schnitzel was quality. Unprocessed, thick and juicy breast with very tasty crumbs. It was one of those parmas where you didn’t mind that there was some nudity on the schnitzel, as the taste of the chicken held up without the need for toppings.

The cheese was plentiful and beautifully melty, the napoli was fresh, in abundance and carried a slight red wine flavour that gave it a great kick. The ham was there, but didn’t really add much to the taste of the dish. Overall this was a quality bird, lets hope the sides are just as good!

The sides weren’t just as good.

Always a bonus point for crinkle cut chips, but thats about where the positives end. They were overcooked, unsalted and not drained nearly well enough - every chip left an oily texture and taste in the mouth that was wholly unpleasant.

The salad was lazy, not terrible, but lazy. The whole thing consisted of lettuce, onion and cucumber with some cream dressing. The dressing was nice, the ingredients were fresh but I just wanted more. 

$23 is a bit steep for this bird. The parma is quality but as a whole meal it was a bit of a let down. The Carlton run a couple of parma specials -

(Note the continued use of their “Vote #1 best parma” line, sneaky buggers)

I’d be interested to check these out, as this would be a top notch meal for $15 with a free pot, but I wouldn’t be back at full price.

The Carlton parma was a quality bird I’d be happy to try again any day of the week, unfortunately some poor chips and lackluster salad let the meal down. All in all the Carlton is a pub that has to be experienced, just be sure to stop in on Monday or Thursday lunch and get yourself a parma on the cheap while you’re at it.

I’m sure the Ostrich would be glad to see you, but maybe he wouldn’t give a flock (bird puns. I hope they don’t ruffle your feathers. hah!)

Parma - 7.75
Chips - 4.75
Salad - 3.88
Value - 5.25
Total - 5.88

The search continues…

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