When? – 24/05/12
Where? – 644 Rathdowne St. Carlton North
Price? - $20
Website? - http://www.gnh.net.au/
Reviewers – Emma, Lee & Stefo
Rather than catch a cab to this weeks parma, I had the bright idea of catching public transport. Not knowing much of the Melbourne tram network beyond Route 59, I jumped on the tram from Essendon, tried a few times to swipe my MyKi before it successfully read, then hopped off at Flemington rd and walked up through Royal Park, past the Zoo and into Carlton North. This would have been an awesome idea had it been a few months ago, before it was dark by 6:15 and a few degrees warmer, However it turns out that I’m an idiot. It was pitch black in the park and friggin freezing.. how glad I was when I finally opened the door to the warm and cosy Great Northern Hotel.
I grabbed a pint and waited for the rest of the review team to arrive, This was definitely a pub I could warm to (puns are fun!) The exposed brick and wood interior just felt inviting, and the combination of a pool table, friendly staff, coat hooks on the walls and the extremely entertaining bulldog that let himself in and walked around like he owned the place just made this a pub that you’d be blessed to call your local. Not to mention the fantastic range of constantly rotating craft beers on tap, this was a good pub.
The other reviewers arrived and we took a seat in the bistro, had a giggle at the ‘please don’t feed the dog’ sign and ordered our parmas - it was clear the dog knew what was going on, as he could be seen wandering from table to table looking for a stray chip, it was obvious that a lot of people ignored the sign in favour of the adorable mutt.
We ordered our meals and took our seats, despite the tempting offer of veggies and baked potato, everyone in attendance went with the classic chips and salad option.
Not long after we ordered three amazing looking plates of food landed at the tables in front of us, however what landed was a table of steaks, not parmas - the staff simply got the wrong table and the mix up was rectified instantly, but damn those steaks looked amazing, for a brief moment I wished I was writing for “Steak Daze”, but alas that was not the case. Moments later the parmas arrived…
The parma may look small in the photo but it is definitely an optical illusion caused by the massive square plate the food was sitting on, lots of white plate is usually a bad sign, however this kept all the elements nice and seperate - no soggy chips for us!.
The chicken was real unprocessed chicken, however it was slightly dry and at times a bit difficult to cut, the crumbs were a tad soggy and it could have had a bit more heat in it when it was served, however those are my only criticisms. The toppings were a delight, with the perfect napoli to cheese to ham ratio adding tremendous flavour to the dish (especially the ham) the toppings definitely saved this one.
The chips were fantastic, not quite as good as last weeks Bad Boy’s, but damn close. A massive pile of perfectly cooked and seasoned beer battered fries, I normally have no problems cleaning my plate but this week I was full before I got to the end of my chips - and despite being full to the point of feeling sick I kept forcing those beer battered beauties down, I felt guilty letting them go to waste.
The salad was in a seperate bowl, and for a garden salad was pretty good (I’m just realising how much this parma has in common with last week’s review… interesting!) Cucumber, lettuce, onion, tomato, carrot and balsamic, the usual suspects really, but they were put together well and complimented the meal with gusto.
I love this pub, I’ll be back soon for one of those amazing looking steaks and to check out the newest selection of brews on tap. They run a $12 parma night Monday nights which is very tempting, a lot of the parma’s shortcomings can be overlooked at a price like that.
On the way out we went through the back, and I was stunned - this quiet, unassuming pub is hiding one of (if not the best) beer gardens I have seen in Melbourne, absolutely amazing with plenty of seating, separate bar and an abundance of TV and projector screens. beautifully renovated its the perfect spot to catch the footy on a weekend afternoon. Check it out before everyone else catches on.