Attempt #97 - 'The Mail Exchange Hotel'


When? – 17/05/12

Where? – The Mail Exchange Hotel, Corner Spencer & Bourke St. Melbourne

Price? - $21

Website? -

Reviewers – Adam, Fridge, Lee, Nikki, Stefo, Tony[/info]

I hope you all appreciate the time I am taking out of Diablo 3 to write up this review. You’re lucky I’m kind enough to put important things aside and instead write about chicken parmas. The things I do for you.

We had a few options for venues this week, we had whittled the potential candidates down to three (the other two will remain nameless, as they are in the crosshairs for next week). To make the final descision I checked out the menus on the different pub’s websites. One thing caught my eye, and that thing was Bad Boy Chips…

What are bad boy chips? No idea. Curiosity got the best of me and we scheduled parma night at the Southern Cross station adjacent Mail Exchange Hotel.

The Mail Exchange is an impressive pub. Any pub that has escalators is automatically impressive in my book! The place is huge, with a TAB and pokies area that rivals Crown Casino on the right (actually the whole pub wouldn’t look out of place if it were a level of Crown), Bistro and lounge area, complete with bookshelf filled with old books on the left, and a massive standing/drinking area in the middle. A lot of money has been sunk into the refurbishment of this place and it definitely shows.

We moved into the bistro, had a quick garlic bread while awaiting the rest of the review team, then once everyone arrived we ordered our parmas - we were asked specifically if we wanted salad with it, we all said yes (and checked the bill afterwards, there is no extra charge for the salad).

I’ll get to the Bad Boy Chips in a minute, first the parma. It was real, unprocessed chicken breast, thick and juicy - unfortunately mine was a little cold by the time it made it to the table. Well, “cold” is a very strong term - it wasn’t hot. it had obviously been sitting for a bit. There was plenty of topping on the schnitzel and the trio (ham, cheese and napoli) all carried a great flavour, my only other complaint would be that the crumbing on the bottom of the parma was a bit soggy - a personal preference really, sometimes a bit of sog is benificial.

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Now, to the bad boy chips. In short, they were amazing. Massively thick cut chips, in beer batter. Hot, perfectly crispy on the outside and so impossibly light and fluffy on the inside it was like you were eating two different chips. My only (minor) criticism would be that they weren’t seasoned very well, however a salt shaker on the table made short work of that issue. A triumph of the chip world, and possibly the best we have had on our search so far (if only they came with a dipping sauce, some garlic aoli would be perfection)

The garden salad was served in a separate bowl, which is always a plus. It contained lettuce, onion, cucumber, capsicum and tomato with a healthy splash of balsamic dressing. As far as garden salads go, it was great. I just wish pubs would realise that there are other salads that go so well with a parma (potato salad, pasta salad, coleslaw etc)

Rose Tattoo sang “I’m a bad boy for love” well I’m a bad boy for bad boy chips, A slightly above average parma was saved by a truly amazing side that I would definitely be back for. Maybe Angry Anderson wouldn’t be so angry if he got some of those bad boys in him, Then he’d just be Satisfied Anderson.

As for the Mail Exchange, it was a decent pub - the staff were friendly and eager to help and if you don’t mind some really obtrusive pokies then its a great venue. If I had to find fault I would say that the beer selection leaves something to be desired (standard big brewery selection, nothing in the way of microbrews). However I would definitely be back, if just for a bowl of bad boys and a pint.

Parma - 6.50
Chips - 9.00
Salad - 7.08
Value - 6.83
Total - 7.18

The search continues…

Mail Exchange Hotel on Urbanspoon