When? – 03/05/2012
Where? – Smoken Joe’s. 680 Mount Alexander Road, Moonee Ponds
Price? - $21.90
Website? - http://www.smokenjoes.com.au/
Reviewers – Lee, Nikki, Pat, Stefo & Tony
**EDIT - Smoken Joes has permanently closed, so this parma is no longer available.
Smoken Joe’s is one of those places we have heard about many times, even in the Jimmy Rowes days there was talk that the parma at Joe’s was so amazingly huge that it was an effort to finish.
We had organised to visit Smoken Joe’s two weeks before, but got a last minute call from the restaurant saying that they had a problem with the kitchen and were unable to fulfill our reservation. No dramas, we headed up the road to the North Suburban and had ourselves a rather tasty parma… But we hadn’t forgotten about Joe’s.
We gave it a couple of weeks to let them get everything sorted out and headed down, Parking in Mount Alexander road can be a bitch at the best of times, so it took us some time to find a spot, but we eventually made it inside. The exposed brick walls, worn wooden floorboards, general decor and architecture of Smoken Joe’s bares a striking resemblance to that of Jimmies in its heyday, so we were all hoping the parma would be just as good.
We sat at our table and checked the menu, we had some choices- Parma was standard however there were quite a few options for sides, the easiest way to explain would be from the menu itself, and I’m quite lazy, so I love when things are easy-
Most everyone went with the classic chips and salad, Reviewer Pat (always the risk taker) went with the Mash and Veggies.
It was a decent wait, but our parmas arrived…
The parma, as expected, was pretty damn big… a large parma with a very thick unprocessed chicken breast, rumors of the size of this parma weren’t exaggerated (The photo above was taken of my parma, and mine was the smallest on the table by a fair margin)
Topping the schnitzel was the standard cheese and napoli, yet no ham to speak of. The parma had the potential to be great, however the biggest issue (which you may be able to tell from the picture) is that the whole thing was quite overcooked.
The nude schnitzel around the edges exposed what were some rather dark crumbs, which left a ring around the edges of very dry chicken. I was scared that this would be the case with the whole parma however once I made it to the middle (under the area covered with cheese) the chicken made a recovery and turned out being quite tasty. The cheese did its job well, despite also being overcooked, however there was a bit of a shortage of napoli - again leading to the opinion that this was a dry parma.
Hiding under the parmage was a very healthy serving of McDonalds style french fries, normally my first action when getting a parma is rescuing the chips from becoming a mushy mess underneath the heat of the meal as I eat (a lot of people will complain about the parma being on top of the chips, but its really a necessary evil - would you prefer less chips and parma so everything fit on the plate?).
Unfortunately the sheer size of both the mountain of chips and the parma meant that many of the chips couldn’t be rescued, and despite being well salted and cooked, a few of them ended up steamed to mush before I had enough room on the plate to maneuver them out, however the fact that there were so many chips meant that more than enough were fine for consumption. As far as french fries go, they were great - yet as far as chips in general go, they were just fine (french fries rarely ever do it for us - the chunkier the better!)
Not to be outshone, there was a humungous heaping of salad accompanying the meal. A garden salad of Lettuce, carrot, cucumber & sprouts that was definitely a struggle to finish by the end of the meal as I was well and truly full by this point. The decent squirt of dressing atop the salad would have been suitable for one of a regular size, however a salad of mammoth proportions such as this required just a little more to cover the whole thing, the last few leaves of lettuce were bone dry.
By now, if you read this blog on a regular basis, you would know that for the past ten weeks or so I have been filming the parma as we consume for the ParmaCam, which you saw above. Now to achieve the ParmaCam, once the parmas arrive I set up my iPhone on a little tripod that looks something like this -
Pointed firmly at the parma, I hit record, then eat. Simple, haven’t had a problem yet - until our review at Smoken Joe’s, when I’m pretty sure that after seeing the tripod and me taking notes as I ate, they cottoned on to the fact that they were getting reviewed (one staff member even asked “are you guys making a movie?”. Luckily the parmas were already out by the time this happened, but once the staff clocked the equipment on the table the level of service we received increased tenfold (checking if we needed anything, clearing of glasses, the aforementioned tomato sauce bottle appearing, etc.)
Didn’t really effect the review at all, but we did have a giggle about it, as its not often people catch on to what we are doing until after we leave our calling cards.
The Smoken Joe’s parma has all the makings of a great one, Unfortunately I think we caught them on an off night and a “great” parma slipped down the ratings to an “okay” one. Not bad by any sense of the word, but at the same time not one I’ll be running back to any time soon. They do offer a $15 parma Tuesday that is worth mentioning, so If you are in the area on a Tuesday night and want a cheap meal that you definitely won’t walk away from hungry, Smoken Joe’s is worth checking out.
Parma - 5.40
Chips - 4.60
Salad - 5.00
Value - 6.20
Total - 5.32
The search continues…
One more thing before I go - if you are free this Wednesday Night down to the Albion in Port Melbourne and watch ‘Hungry Haydo’ smash a Triple Parma!
Haydo can down the Albion’s double parma in under 5 minutes!, so the triple parma attempt will be something to behold!
If you forget what the Albion’s triple parma looked like you can check it out here
It’s all for prostate cancer awareness so come on down!!