When? - 16th of June, 2011
Where? - Hardimans - 521 Macaulay Rd, Kensington
Price? - $12 parma n’ pot Thursdays, normally $16
Website? - http://www.hardimans.com.au/
Reviewers - Adam, Cale, Grace, Lee, Nikki, Pat, Tony
update 07/09/18 - Hardimans has (thankfully) been gutted and given a complete overhaul - check out the new review by clicking here!
I’m going to tell you straight up that this is not going to be a positive review - If you are a fan of Hardimans are & are easily offended then you might want to stop reading, as this is not going to be pretty.
Yesterday at about lunchtime, I was looking on the Hardimans’ website to find a phone number so I could call and make a booking for the attempt that night, It was there that I noticed their website offered the option of online bookings through the Dimmi Restaurant booking system, which advertises on the Hardimans website as ‘Free, Instant & Guaranteed’. I booked the table via the Dimmi system and later that night we headed to Hardimans to get our parma on.
On arrival we informed the bar girl that we had a booking that we made online, we were met with the response ‘oh, we don’t check that’, So our ‘guaranteed’ booking was nonexistent. Luckily the pub was all but deserted so we got a table easily - not a terrible start to things, but definitely a precursor to what was in store.
We were still waiting on a couple more reviewers, so I went to the bar to get my standard pint of Bulmers. “ummm We are out of clean pint glasses” was the response I got from the bartender, which shocked me again, as, apart from the review team, there were about 4 other people in the pub at the time. I settled for a pot, the reviewer we were waiting on arrived, and we ordered our parmas.
Now, before I get on to the Parma, there are a couple of things I want to cover - First of all, Hardimans is a decent pub if you want a quiet pot (as apparently pints are out of the question). Its a cosy local with a live acoustic band, Jukebox, pool tables, a surprisingly spacious beer garden and even a tabletop Galaga machine. I’ve been to a few 21sts in the upstairs function room and never had a complaint, Until tonight.
After a decent wait (bordering on 40 minutes) our parmas arrived -
Straight away one of the reviewers commented on the pre-fabricated heart shape of the chicken and the ring of nude schnitzel around the outside, there was a single slice of ham in the center and the cheese was well cooked. Our suspicions were correct about the chicken itself - prefab city, the crumbs were hard and fell away from the chicken, the napoli was virtually nonexistent, as was the chicken itself. there was probably 2 bites of parma taken from the exact center that had enough of all the combined toppings to taste decent, but otherwise this was an absolute train wreck of a parma.
The cross section below will show what I mean about the pre-fab chicken, apologies for the low quality iPhone photo.
The chips, which arrived sandwiched directly under the parma, were stone cold and completely unseasoned, If there was any positive is that there were quite a lot of them, but as bad as they were I didn’t finish them
The salad was a few leaves, a slice of tomato, some onion and cucumber barely any dressing and came across as a complete afterthought.
Overall it was a terrible parma, The parma, the chips and the salad were all plain bad, It was cheap - Thursday parma night was $12 with a free pot which isn’t too bad, but I’d rather pay more and get a parma that actually had flavour - The regular menu has the parma listed as $16, and I’d be very pissed off if that is what I paid for the meal.
Now we get to the highlight of the night, I had finished my meal but a few reviewers still had some to go when there was an unexpected arrival at our review. About 2 ft from where I was sitting there was a pole supporting the roof, beside the pole was a small crack, out of the crack a little furry friend decided he wanted to give his opinion on the parma score, multiple times we saw a mouse come and go from the hole - completely comfortable with a loud pub (and the screams from our female reviewers). I felt a little sick and what was remaining of the uneaten parmas went uneaten.
I always thought Hardimans was one of those ‘faux dirty’ pubs to give it some style, but having 1. No clean pint glasses and 2. Mice openly running around on the floor Isn’t faux dirty at all, its just dirty.