When? - 10th of November, 2011
Where? - The Melbourne Central Lion, Melbourne Central Shopping center, Level 3 211 LaTrobe Street, Melbourne
Price? – $22 (with cheap lunch specials and options for either Eggplant ($20) or Veal ($25))
Barry? - Yes
Website? - http://www.acemelbourne.com.au/mclion/
Reviewers – Cale, Emma, Lee, Nikki, Pat, Stefo, Tony[/info]
A few weekends ago it was Reviewer Tony’s birthday, and to celebrate his successful orbit around the sun we headed to a place that I’m rather fond of, the Melbourne Central Lion Hotel. While sitting and drinking with a majority of the PD review team we came to the conclusion that we should revisit the Lion for a parma attempt. The following Thursday night we did just that, loaded up the parma bus and headed to the Melbourne Central Lion to check out their chicken parma.
The Lion is a pub that by all rights, shouldn’t be good - It’s a pub located inside a shopping center, it can be found the third level of Melbourne Central, Inside the big glass cone that envelops the Shot Tower, and adjacent to Hoyts.
However once you are inside the Lion you could completely forget you are inside a shopping center - The pub is absolutely massive, with a heap of space in the front bar and even a second room out the back with a second bar and TAB. Standard faux ‘British pub’ design with a live band most big nights and with a Pool table, Foosball table, Real Barry, Buck hunter, and a TAB you won’t be short of something to keep you entertained should the alcohol not be doing its job.
We took our seat in the ‘Beer garden’, (The designated, seating area out the front of the pub, pretending to be outdoors even though its still inside the shopping center) Ordered our parmas at the bar and awaited their arrival. Price wise it clocked in at $22, with an Eggplant parma option at $20 and a Veal parma at $25 - On the specials board there was a ‘Tandoori Parma’ advertised, but nobody had the balls to give that one a try and we stuck with the classic.
Before too long we were surrounded by plates of parma goodness - All seven parmas arrived simultaneously, carried by multiple staff. We dug in.
The schnitzels were big, flat and big. This is definitely a parmigiana you wont walk away from hungry. Reviewer Nikki, who had a slightly smaller piece of schnitzel to everyone else, was surprised to find an extra slice of shntitz to the side of her parma, as if the chef threw it on as a bonus to make up for her main meal not living up to the epic size of everyone else’s.
Due to their size, there was plenty of nude schntiz with all the parmas, which I was a little let down with at first however the area of the schnitzel that was properly sauced and cheesed was well and truly an acceptable size for a parma, so I considered the rest a bonus.
It was real, unprocessed chicken, a little overcooked on the nude edges, a little thin in parts but the majority of it held up a decent thickness - the crumbing was light and not at all overdone.
The areas that had cheese had plenty of it, but wound up being a bit underwhelming and flavorless - a feeling that carried through the taste of every topping to be honest, the napoli was plentiful, as was the ham, it was all there and did its job however there was no real standout ingredients, and after awhile it all got a bit boring.
This seems to be an issue we have encountered a few times in the past, and I’m going to finally give this issue a name, I call it “Big Parma Syndrome”
We have come across it a few times in the past (examples Here, Here, Here and Here) but it seems that when a parma crosses from ‘decent’ size to ‘holy shit!’ size, the flavour takes a big hit - Now it may just be that after the halfway point of the parma you are starting to get full and the brain is shutting down the taste receptors to dissuade you from eating (that is sound science right there), but a lot of the big parmas are, while perfectly acceptable, just boring! There are exceptions to this rule (see Here, Here and Here) but remember the term “Big Parma Syndrome”, as it will no doubt come up again.
Also Reviewer Tony wanted to make sure that everyone knew his parma had a penis..
This is going to be a sentence of nothingness, However I just wanted to type something here so there was a break of text between the photo of Tony’s penis-parma and the cross section picture. I hope this is enough… do you think? Yeah. Probably enough.
The chips suffered an unfortunate fate, I’m sure at one point they were good, but due to the size of the parma they spent a lot of time in the sauna, sandwiched directly under the chicken, by the time we got to them they were in soggytown. We normally do our best to rescue chips from the sauna as soon as they arrive in front of us, however due to the size of the schnitzel we simply had nowhere to put the parma were we to lift it off the chicken. There was a decent serve of chips and the supplied tomato sauce bottles were definitely appreciated, however they were very starchy and without the tomato sauce were a bit flavourless.
The salad was pretty good, a simple garden salad of lettuce, carrot, tomato, cucumber onion and a creamy dressing. Standard, but the dressing had a great flavour and there was plenty of it, a fine accompaniment to the meal.
Now before I continue to the quotes I need to talk to the men reading this review, ladies, I’m going to have to ask you to skip the following paragraph and rejoin when the quotes start … even then maybe skip the first quote as it directly references what I’m going to talk about below.
Okay are the girls gone? Good.
I’ve been to a lot of bars in my time, seventy six different bars for parma alone, and I from what I have seen I will say that the Bartenders at The Lion are in contention for the hottest bar girls in Melbourne, And the short-shorts that seem to be standard Lion uniform are really helping their cause. A lot of the guys in the review team were more than happy to eat by the bar, just for the view. Definitely something to consider when making your choice of dining location in the city, if you are so inclined.
Okay, on to the quotes.
After we ate we indulged in some entertainment, won enough on Barry to pay for parking, which was a bonus…
Barry was great fun, but the machine on the left was SO much easier to win at, all you had to do was remember one four digit number and it paid out as much cash as you wanted! Pubs these days will do anything to get you in the door.
The Melbourne Central Lion parma is a mixed bag, Its big and guaranteed not to leave you hungry, With quality unprocessed schnitzel, however at around the halfway point we all had the same realisation, despite being completely adequate it was just a little boring. If you are near Melbourne Central and have a hankering for some parm I definitely recommend you stop in and give it a go (preferably on their Tuesday $15 Parma n Pot Special), otherwise I wouldn’t go out of my way for it.
Parma - 6.50
Chips - 4.43
Salad - 5.14
Value - 5.57
Total - 5.63
The search continues…