When? - 1st of December, 2010
Where? - 171 Curzon St. North Melbourne
Price? - $13 with Pot.
Barry? - No, but pool table and Big Buck Hunter
Website? - None
Reviewers - Adam, Cale, Lee, Sara, Stefo
First things first, I want to make something clear - this is not in any way a third review of The Hotel Albion in Port Melbourne that nearly killed us all with its double and triple parma challenges, This is a different pub called The Albion Hotel in North Melbourne. One is the Albion Hotel, the other is the Hotel Albion, see the difference? - its a little confusing and I think the people at the Albion Hotel are aware of it, as when I called to make the booking for this weeks attempt they made it very clear that they were the Albion in North Melbourne, not Port Melbourne.
With that out of the way, lets begin!
Much like last weeks review of the Fox hotel, the Albion is one of those pubs that you drive past hundreds of times, but never actually acknowledge - I first took note of it when I realized that the second floor of the pub is actually a residential apartment which was for lease not so long ago (by ‘not so long ago’ I mean ‘sometime in the last three years’ I think alcohol has completely destroyed my ability to judge duration, but I digress) The idea of living above a fully functional pub was a dream, like having my own personal Maclarens - But alas I never moved in above the Albion, so instead I am reviewing the parma of what could have been my local, if only I had’ve filled out my rental application.
That could have been me!
The Albion is a very laid back pub, with the essentials on tap, big buck hunter machine, juke box and pool table along with a number of TV’s that were (quite fittingly) playing ‘How I Met Your Mother’ when we arrived - Over the bar there is a collection of at least 15 years of framed AFL premiership WEG posters, although I didn’t see any Collingwood posters from this years premiership, so they will need to update soon.
We ordered our parmas at the bar - $13 with a pot all day every day, and took a seat at our table - tomato sauce already on every table was a nice touch. There was a bit of a wait but that was totally understandable for a small pub such as the Albion, all our meals arrived pretty much simultaneously and were piping hot.
The Schnitzel was a decent size - I was worried when I first cut into it that it was going to be a credit card thing bit of chicken, but that was only on the edges, once you got into the middle it thickened out to a good thickness - the crumbing was processed but not too thick, there was no danger of schnitzel nudity as the chicken was covered with a healthy slice of ham and a big dollop of napoli followed by a very generous helping of cheese, If you are a cheese fan this is definitely a the parma for you, one reviewer likened it to ‘eating a pizza’. The thickness of the ham and the cheese on top formed a kind of protective pocket around the napoli, sealing it in and keeping it fresh. It was a quality piece of chicken and for only $13 with a free pot it definitely kicked a few goals.
It’s very rare that this happens, but for once a pub got the serving of the chips correctly, how? They didn’t serve them under the parma. A generous serving of chips found their way beside my chicken, they were hot and crispy - perhaps a little overcooked for my liking, but not a hellworthy sin. Unseasoned, but with salt, pepper and a bottomless bottle of sauce on the table this wasn’t an issue at all.
The salad was also a breath of fresh air, not only was a very cucumber heavy garden salad served with the meal, but a generous helping of coleslaw found its way alongside it. Now to me the garden salad on its own was a little bland, just lettuce, tomato and (as I said) lots of cucumber, but the sides were saved by the coleslaw, something we haven’t been offered since our 5th review at The Skinny Dog, although at the Skinny Dog they made the fatal error of making us choose between chips or coleslaw - who is their right mind would choose coleslaw over chips, it just doesn’t make sense. but again, I digress.
The Albion served up a damn good parma - and for the price of $13 with a free pot any day or night of the week, a good parma turns into a great one. Not to mention the staff were friendly and there are plenty of great places in Errol st. to kick on too if the night is still young (after our meal we wandered up the road to Rrose Bar, a fantastic little spot that makes one hell of a cocktail!)
Now as I mentioned last week we were working on a new scoring equation to make the scores at parmadaze a bit fairer, and not give so much power to the chips and salad to affect the score. Now with the help of users Trevallion, DevilsReject and LucaBrasi over in the Mathematics group of Suicide Girls (not for kiddies!) we have the new formula in hand and have adjusted all of the scores on the site to fit the new system (only the ‘Total’ score changes, all the other categories stay the same. Be sure to check out the Ladder to see the updated order. This will be the first pub judged under the new system, so without further adieu, I give you the scores for The Albion Hotel -
Parma - 7.1
Chips - 6.0
Salad - 5.7
Value - 8.8
Total - 6.94
The search continues…
Once again a shoutout goes to Trevallion, DevilsReject and LucaBrasi over in the Mathematics group of Suicide Girls for working out the new formula, I couldn’t have done it without you guys!