When? - 11th of August, 2011
Where? - The Royal Hotel, 873 Mt. Alexander Rd, Essendon.
Price? – $15 (in the bar, ‘Parma, Pot n’ Punt’ special)
Barry? - Yes
Website? - http://www.royalhotel-essendon.com.au/
Reviewers – Cale, Grace, Lee, Nikki, Pat, Tony
UPDATE - IT TOOK US 8 YEARS BUT WE REVISITED THE ROYAL. FIND OUT HOW IT CHANGED IN ALL THOSE YEARS HERE!
To be honest, we picked The Royal this week because it was close, 90% of the Parma Daze review team live around Essendon, and the pastfewweeks we have done a bit of travelling from our home zone for the attempts. It was nice to hit up a local for a change.
I was researching the menu for the attempt online beforehand (making great use of office hours) and realised we had a dilemma. The Royal offers two parma related meal deals on a Thursday. In the public bar, from Monday - Thursday they have a ‘$15 Parma, Pot n’ Punt’ meal deal, In which $15 gets you a Parma, A pot of beer (or soft drink) and a $3 mystery bet in the TAB. However in the Bistro, Thursday night is ‘Parma-rama’ night, in which $13 buys you a parma with your choice of 7 toppings.
I appreciate your use of our lingo, Royal, but a ‘nude’ parma isn’t a parma… its a schnitzel. kill this from your menu!
It was the ‘Sophie’s Choice’ of parmas, do we opt for the $15 plain parma, with a free pot & mystery bet? or get something from the M selections range (‘It’s a little bit fancy’) for $13. After much soul searching we decided to keep it simple, have our parmas in the bar and go for the $15 Parma, Pot n’ Punt.
The Bistro was pretty darn busy when we arrived, however the bar was quiet, I guess the people of Essendon prefer their parmigianas with a little flair. We grabbed a table and placed our order. There’s plenty to do to keep you entertained at The Royal bar, with a Barry machine, juke box, pool table and TAB attached (and pokies around the corner if you are so inclined).
We placed our orders, grabbed a drink, and returned to our seats, I headed into the TAB to pick up the myst…
…ery bet that came with the meal. Wait. what just happened? That parma is there far too early. Yet that is pretty much the exact timeline from ordering the food to the parma’s arrival - I kid you not the kitchen at the Royal pumped out 6 chicken parmigianas in no more than five minutes, if you do the math on that thats more than one parma per minute. I’m all for a quick meal but when a parma comes out that quick its a little concerning.
From outside appearances the parma looked okay, with great trepidation we picked up the cutlery and dove in. We all lost on our mystery bets, in case you were wondering… a good bit of fun though.
The chicken was okay, definitely processed, and judging from the speed they came out they would have to be pre-cooked, but okay none the less. It was a real ‘luck of the draw’ situation as a few reviewers got some rather unhealthy looking birds (a few grey spots in the chick) and others got a fairly decent slice, There was minimal nude schnitzel and plenty of ham, cheese and napoli, however they must’ve left the taste in the kitchen as the parma came off rather bland, crumb/chicken ratio was okay but not fantastic. I was freaking starving so I put it away without an issue, It was passable, but forgettable.
Now before the attempt I was told by a few friends that I had to ‘order the beer battered chips on the side, they’re so much better than the regular chips’. It’s no secret that I am a sucker for a good beer battered chip, however when I tried to make the order at the bar I was told that the beer battered chips have been taken off the menu, so we were stuck with the regulars.
Much like the parma itself, the chips weren’t bad, but they were forgettable, standard plank chips with minimal (if any) seasoning, They were well cooked and I was happy with them, however the serving was tiny, only a handful of chips accompanied the parma and they were gone almost as soon as they began.
The salad was… (sounding like a broken record here) standard and forgettable. Lettuce, cucumber, tomato, carrot and a smidge of onion, it was rather dry on the dressing. At one point Reviewer Pat pulled an odd face, looked at me in horror and said ‘I just got a really bad tasting piece of lettuce’. I can’t say I’ve ever had lettuce taste so bad I’ve had to comment on it, but I figured it was worth a mention.
After the meal we finished off our attempt with a game of Barry (or ‘Game On’ as its called now, pfft) Freakin Deal or no Deal is a cheating bastard.
I’m a little torn in summing up The Royal’s parma. Its not great, but the Monday - Thursday ‘Parma, Pot n Punt’ deal is good value as long as you understand what you are paying for. If you’re after a cheap & nasty (and lightning fast) parma to accompany your after work beers then this is definitely the place for you, and the $3 Mystery Bet is a good novelty to chuck in to kill the 60 seconds between the ordering and arrival of your parma.