When? - 23rd of February, 2011
Where? - The Sugar Gum Hotel, Cnr. Melton Hwy & Gourlay Rd, Hillside
Price? - $19.50 in the Bistro
Barry? - No, but lots of other entertainment
Website? - None
Reviewers - Adam, Bec, Lee, Luke, Nikki, Tanya[/info]
I remember back when they built the Sugar Gum it was in the middle of freakin nowhere - Urban sprawl hadn’t quite reached it yet and I remember my parents saying ‘Why would you want to go to a pub all the way out here?’ Fast forward a few years and it is surrounded by suburbia. With Watergardens shopping center down the road and houses as far as the eye can see, The Sugar Gum is a pub in prime position for the locals of the area. Having seen it many times on drives up to the country, it stuck in my mind as a place to try where they might do a good parma, So we loaded up the parma bus and headed down the Melton Hwy. to the Sugar Gum Hotel (Or ‘tavern’ depending on who you ask)
The place is huge, with ample parking, large sports bar, TAB, pool tables, jukebox, pokies, spacious bistro and kids room full of arcade games, there are a plethora of options for entertainment (except for Barry, unfortunately). The staff are extremely friendly and helpful, however the drinks range is pretty standard, no Bulmers on tap unfortunately and the Jim Beam stubbies were bordering on criminally expensive ($10.50 each - I don’t like paying over $10 for a drink if it doesn’t have at least one piece of fruit & an umbrella in it)
We took our seats in the bistro and ordered our parma’s at the bar ($19.50 with a Thursday $15 parma night). I was freaking starving so the wait seemed a little long, but it could’ve just been my hunger distorting my perception of time - it happens.
When it first arrived, the parma looked pretty good, there was some minor nude schnitzel around the edges and the cheese was a little overcooked (bordering on burnt around the edges) but so far no unforgivable offenses, the schnitzel was big and thick, so we tucked in. Unfotunately the whole parma smacked of being processed, the chicken, the crumbs, the napoli, the ham and the cheese all tasted pre-packaged. All the ingredients of a parma were there on the plate, however it had no soul, no flavour and in the end it left us wanting. also, towards the end of the parma (after it had a few minutes to sit) the cheese turned into Mr. Fantastic from The Fantastic 4, extremely rubbery.
While we’re on the subject, how much of an ego must this guy have to name himself ‘Mr. Fantastic’ just because he can stretch. All the other members of the Fantastic 4 chose names that reflected their powers, I can imagine the meeting in which they chose their superhero names going something like this…
“Okay Sue, you can turn invisible so we will call you the ‘Invisible Woman’. easy. Johnny, you can burst into flame at will so ‘The Human Torch’ is pretty self explanatory, Ben, you got turned into an orange-rock-thing, lets go with ‘The Thing’ for you and me … well, I can stretch my body parts like an elastic band, hmmm, Elastic Man? no … Rubber Man? nahh, I know!, seeing as I am pretty fucking fantastic, I’ll just call myself ‘Mister Fantastic’. perfect. Any complaints? Ben, stop crying…”
The chips hidden underneath the parma were great, toeing the line somewhere between shoestring fries and regular chips. They were fresh, crispy, well seasoned and in abundant supply, the chips were definitely the star of this meal.
The garden salad (made up of lettuce, carrot, onion, cucumber & tomato) looked great when it landed in front of us, however it didn’t really hold up when it came to taste, much like the parma itself there wasn’t anything particularly wrong with it, but it just came across as bland and flavourless.
The Sugar Gum is a great little spot and some of the other meals I saw going past while waiting for ours looked pretty damn impressive. Unfortunately as I said earlier, the parma offered up by the Sugar Gum lacked any flair, It was a cookie cutter parma that didn’t quite carry any flavour and for $19.50 I expect something more. I would definitely consider going back for a $15 parma on their Thursday parma night, as from what I could gather they do some novelty parmas on occasion then, perhaps some extra toppings would give it the flair it needs to get over the line. you do want to express yourself don’t you Sugar Gum?
Parma - 5.75
Chips - 7.17
Salad - 3.33
Value - 5.50
Total - 5.50
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