Attempt #43 - 'The Penny Black'



When? - 16th of March, 2011

Where? - The Penny Black. 420 Sydney Rd. Brunswick

Price? - $19.90 regular menu, $12 Parma Monday

Barry? - No

Website? -

Reviewers - Bec, Brad, Lee, Luke, Nikki[/info]


I’ll start by saying I really like The Penny Black. As a pub I frequent quite often I was really hoping they served up a good parma, as I would feel ashamed turning up this weekend after giving them a bad review.

The Penny Black is an interesting pub, Situated inside a building that was once a post office - hence the name of the pub being taken from the name of a vintage stamp. Upon walking in the door it could easily be dismissed as ‘just another indie pub’ complete with a selection of board games or Kurt Vonnegut books available behind the bar, but through the doors by the bar there hides a massive beer garden, easily twice the size of the indoor section, complete with an outdoor bar, and heaps of tables.

I would say that The Penny Black is a well kept secret, but in recent months the word seems to have gotten out and its hard to get in the door on a Friday or Saturday night. Luckily Wednesday was pretty quiet and we got a table easily, we took our seats and placed our parma orders - $19.90 off the regular menu, but The Penny Black also offers a $12 parma Monday that would be good to keep in mind.

Wednesday night was $12 steak night (apparently a tradition on Sydney Rd) and the steaks coming out of the kitchen looked pretty damn appetising, as did the burgers (Thursday is $12 Burger night), hopes were high for this weeks chicken parmigiana.

After a short wait the parmas arrived…

Parmas always look worse in photos when I have to use the flash - It was dark at The Penny Black, so flash was necessary, but I assure you it looked tasty in reality

For those curious, the photo without flash looked something like this -

mmmm… delicious

The schnitzel, while a little small on circumference, was thick as buggery, over an inch thick of pure breast for the majority of the parma. The topping coverage was great with almost zero schnitzel nudity and a slice of ham that didn’t overpower everything else, the napoli was a little bit thick and tomato paste-ish for my liking but it held together well. The only complaint would be the parma was bordering on overcooked, not burnt, but getting there. This made the cornflake crumbs it was coated in very hard, almost rough on the tongue. I also want to issue an official warning on the Penny Black parma, this thing was bloody hot, so much so I had to let it cool for a minute before I could properly dig in, not that this is a negative, I’d rather a parma that is too hot than one that is too cold.

The chips were shoestring, McDonalds-esque fries. There was a big serving (both under the parma, out on their own, and even a little under the salad) and very well seasoned. I’m not normally big on shoestring fries with a parma, but if they all came out like this I could definitely be persuaded to convert.

The salad was also a big serving, but there wasn’t much of it. Consisting of rocket, onion, tomato, a single slice of cucumber and a splashing of dressing it was tasty but not really substantial, not bad but not wow’ing us either. Although in saying that Reviewer Bec made me promise to not that the tomatoes in the salad were particularly good, so yay for the tomatoes.

As I said at the start of the review I love The Penny Black, and I am so glad that I wasn’t disappointed by their parma - If they serve up the same quality parma on their Monday $12 special it would be one to put on your ‘must try’ list, but at $19.90 it is a little on the expensive side. The pub itself is a great live music venue with what is possibly Melbourne’s best beer garden out the back. Whether its for a sneaky pint after work or dinner on either Parma (Monday), Pizza (Tuesday), Steak (Wednesday), Burger (Thursday) or Roast (Sunday) night, its definitely a place you should check out.

Parma - 7.5
Chips - 7.7
Salad - 4.9
Value - 6
Total - 6.72

The search continues…

The Penny Black on Urbanspoon