When? - 2nd of June, 2011
Where? - PJ O’Brien’s, Melbourne Airport
Price? - $18
Barry? - No
Website? - http://www.pjobriens.com.au/
Reviewers - Adam, Cale, Grace, Janet, Lee, Nikki, Tony Q
To this date, PJ O’Brien’s Melbourne Airport is the only pub to have turned us away, Back in October last year we rocked up to Terminal 3 ready to get our parma on, only to find the place packed to capacity and we were left without a table, we ended up driving down the road the Westmeadows Tavern which, although expensive, wasn’t terrible. After that night a part of me always wondered ‘what if”. Every time I went to the airport it crossed my mind, So last night we bit the bullet, loaded up the parma bus and most importantly booked a table before heading down.
I mentioned in Last week’s attempt that we were losing one of our most committed reviewers to the foggy land of London for a few years, and in a double whammy of convenience a parma at PJ’s served as a great chance to get some chicken in us before bidding him farewell…
We arrived and took our seats at our rather large table up the front of the pub. For a little hole-in-the-wall at the airport I was impressed, once you enter past the first room you could forget you were in the airport all together. It sticks to the ‘Irish pub’ franchise theme pretty well - cosy booths, lots of wood and assorted Irish-themed paraphernalia adorning the walls, There’s even a small beer garden to the side complete with umbrella so you don’t get wet during all of those pesky indoor rainstorms that plague Melbourne airport.
After a very short wait, two of the seven parmas ordered arrived at our table, unfortunately it was a good 10 minute wait after those ones came out that the others joined them. I’m not sure how to feel about this, yes they were busy and I’d rather have the parmas that are ready come out straight away as opposed to waiting under the heat lamps for the others to be prepared, but at the same time 10 minutes is a long time to be watching your mates eat their delicious parma while you wait for yours, I think thats how the French revolution started, Everybody knows Marie Antoinette never actually said “Let them eat cake”, what she actually said was “Let them eat parmas”. Prove me wrong.
So after a short wait that felt like an eternity, our chicken arrived.
I must say I wasn’t expecting much from this parma, and it turns out I was pleasantly surprised, the schnitzel was big and thick, the crumbs were a little processed but not thick by any means, the chicken was good quality and there was a good helping of the trifecta of toppings, Napoli in particular was both tasty (very Tomatoey - it is too a word!) and in abundance. There were some slight nude schnitzel issues, and when the nude part was eaten the taste of the processed crumbs definitely shone through, but ninety percent of the time it was smooth sailing, the cross section below will show the good crumb/chicken/topping ratio
The chips were a bit of a let down, only a handful shoved to the side (at least not under the parma), they were well cooked and crispy but as tasteless as cardboard - I didn’t even finish the small serving I was given.
The salad, while big, was a little bland, a heap of lettuce and not much else, like the chips everything seemed tasteless. There was dressing, but it was so mild I could barely place the flavour.
PJ’s offered up a decent parma that was let down by poor sides. It was pretty darn good, however if I wasn’t already at the airport I couldnt justify seeking it out again as parking alone cost us $20.
It is a fantastic place to stop in for a beer and a meal if you are travelling/saying goodbye to loved ones, and if it’s your last chance to try a parma before heading overseas definitely give it a try, it sure beats the hell out of airplane food!