When? - 26th of May, 2011
Where? - The Town Hall Hotel. 33 Errol St. North Melbourne
Price? - $18
Barry? - No
Website? - None
Reviewers - Adam, Cale, Emma, Lee, Ness, Nikki, Pat, Stefo[/info]
Last night was a night of celebration, both for our Fifty-second official parma review (one for every week of the year!) and saying goodbye to reviewer Stefo, who is leaving our team to become a roving-reporter, hopefully sending us reviews from London and wherever else he visits while he travels the world. You will be missed Stefo! we are going to try and squeeze in one more review with him on the team, but for all intents and purposes this was the final parma Stefo would be having for the Melbourne Parma Daze team, so it was his job to select where we would be attempting this week, and he chose the Town Hall Hotel, in Errol st. North Melbourne.
The Town Hall hotel is a must-visit, not only for the insane decor but for one of the best kept secrets in North Melbourne, the beer garden. Walking through the front bar, then through the bistro, and past the kitchen will put you in a quiet beer garden you would never expect to find on busy Errol St, and dont worry if its a cold night, all the booths out in the garden are equipped with their own heaters hanging above that keep everything nice and cosy.
Oh yeah, I should talk about parmas sometime soon.
Be warned - bookings are essential at this place, we arrived at 6.45 on a Thursday night and the bistro was already packed with hungry patrons, luckily we had a booking so seating wasn’t a problem but you should keep it in mind if you intend to dine with a group. We glanced at the menu on the wall, went to the bar (past the oddly disturbing portraits of crying children) and placed our orders, after that there was nothing more to bit sit back and wait for our parmas to arrive.
It was a slight wait, but on a trip to check out the beer garden we could plainly see our tasty looking parmas frying up on the hotplate (not deep fried, points there). Before to long we saw our parmas line up along the heat lamps, 8 parmas wide and stacked high it was a very appetising sight, moments later they fell on the table in front of us
Can’t really see the height from this angle, but this parma was stacked high on the chips
The schnitzel itself was great quality, although calling it a schnitzel may be a bit of a false claim as there were very little, if any crumbs on the breast itself, not that its a bad thing, we have had parmas before that were light on the crumbs and it served as a refreshing change, I’d rather have too few crumbs than too many! Nude schnitzel was minimal, napoli was well distributed and there was a good amount of cheese, both mozzarella and parmesan.
Putting bacon on a parma is a risky move, some (such as myself) love bacon and can’t get enough of it, yet a few of the reviewers said it was too overpowering and all they could taste was bacon. frankly I can’t see any downfall to this, but I suppose its a personal taste. Here’s a cross section to demonstrate the crumb/chicken ratio, apologies for the flash photo, it was dark, but you can still see the quality of the chicken.
The Town Hall hotel needs to splash out and get some bigger plates, there were plenty of chips but the parma was stacked directly on top and without anywhere to move the parma too it made them very hard to get too. Despite being trapped under the parma the chips somehow remained amazingly crispy, bordering on too much so, you dont realise how much you miss a few soggy chips to mop up stray napoli until there aren’t any there.
The salad, while there was plenty of it, was standard garden salad. Lettuce, onion, cucumber, tomato and some sprouts, I couldn’t detect any dressing, not a bad salad, but not remarkable
The Town Hall hotel is a must visit, at the very least to stop in for a beer and check out the ever so cosy beer garden. If you’re a fan of bacon the parma is a must-try, if not it its still top quality chicken and the light crumbing makes for a different parma experience, definitely one to check out, at least to see if its your ‘thing’. For $18 it’s a pretty good value meal, Worth checking out, no matter how controversial your opinion on bacon is.
Parma - 6.5
Chips - 5.19
Salad - 5.25
Value - 6.13
Total - 5.91
The search continues…
Farewell Stefo! you will be missed!