When? - 15th of September, 2010
Where? - 519 Spencer St, West Melbourne
Price? - $19.50
Barry? - No
Website? - http://www.theroyalmail.com.au/
Reviewers - Adam, Johnno, Lee, Mel, Nikki, Shanan, Tanya, Tony Q[/info]
As most beer drinkers would know, underneath the caps on Carlton Draught stubbies is a trivia question, usually about sports or science or geography, just a little fun fact to make the day a bit more enjoyable. During a drinking session last saturday I de-capped my stubbie of Carlton to find the following question -
It was a sign from the lord, he saw our quest and it was good. I had a feeling that because of this lucky cap (which I carried in my pocket all week so I wouldn’t lose it) that this weeks parma was gonna be a ripper - perhaps the perfect parma? Our quest is now a divine one, lets see if the lord is on our side in this weeks attempt - The Royal Mail.
I Honestly can’t remember how the Royal Mail appeared on our radar, its not in our ‘to be tried’ list, its not in my inbox of suggestions people sent me, it just happened. We loaded up the Parma Bus™, headed to Spencer st. and the Royal Mail.
Parking was a breeze, we normally have trouble finding a spot on Wednesday nights but with an abundance of metered car spots in surrounding streets it was a non-issue (especially since the meters in the area only run until 6.30pm).
We went into the pub-side of the Royal Mail first, for a game of pool and to wait for the rest of the team to arrive. It amazed me the contrast between the two sides of the building, the Pub side was a down to earth Aussie Pub, with Pool table, jukebox, cold beer and pub meals - heaps of character and friendly bar staff made this a great spot I’d definitely come back to for a pot (awesome side note, If you are reading this review before Grand Final Day ‘10, The Royal Mail runs a Grand Final day special that offers free beer between the first bounce of the game, and the first goal kicked. epic deal and I’m definitely considering popping in.)
Our team had pretty much arrived so we headed around the bar to the restaurant and were greeted with a beautifully renovated gastro-pub, with leather couches, big, solid wooden tables and a full body portrait of Kamahl - something every pub needs.
Amazing contrast between down to earth bar on one side of the wall, and gastro-pub on the other
We took our seat and ordered our parmas - $19.50 is a bit up there on the price scale but I definitely don’t mind paying it if its a quality parma. I couldn’t see any mention of a discount parma night running, although Wednesday night is known as ‘Roadkill Wednesdays’ at the Royal Mail, with dishes on the menu such as an Emu Burger, Camel Sausages, Kangaroo Meatloaf, Possum Stew or Ostrich Pudding, not for the faint of heart but something I’d definitely come back to try
After a short wait our parma’s marched out of the kitchen -
One of the waitresses saw me taking the above photo and cottoned on to the fact we were giving it a review, so she gave me a rundown of what goes into it. All the chicken breasts are crumbed in house, with smoked ham, home made napoli and tasty cheese with parmesan. It looked great so we tucked in.
The schnitzel itself was superb, a little on the small size but thick and juicy, pure succulent chicken breast all the way through. There was a bit of nude schnitzel on the edge of mine but mostly I got a good covering of cheese. The smoked ham was tasty and not too overpowing (some parmas that use smoked ham can suffer from an overly smoky taste, but this was good and didn’t suffer from that) The cheese was nice, a little overcooked and burnt in some areas but no real drama.
Now I’ve left the biggest point of debate about the parma itself until last - the Napoli, As the waitress told us, they use a homemade napoli (and I’ve read online that they use Paprika in it as their secret ingredient, although that is unconfirmed). I enjoyed the napoli, it definitely had a different taste to other parmas - my best description would be a combination of napoli and barbecue sauce. The review table was pretty much split, some loved it and others hated it. It comes down personal choice I suppose, it might be nice to have the option of regular or ‘Royal Mail’ napoli when ordering, but all in all it was a great quality parma.
The chips were hand cut, beer battered and set to the side of the parma - delicious, My only complaint is that there just weren’t enough of them, an extra handful and they would’ve been looking at a 9 for score I reckon.
The salad was fresh, but a bit of an afterthought - a fairly small basic garden salad with lettuce, onion, tomato, cucumber & a splash of balsamic. Although I did like the care that was taken with the preparation of the cucumber, the seeds were cut out of the cucumber slices leaving little ‘C’ shapes of cucumber through the salad. C for cucumber. Ha!
A lot of care is taken in the production of this parma and it shows. A little pricey for what you are getting but I was definitely happy to pay it. The major downfall of this parma would be the home made napoli that was just a little too different for some reviewers (you don’t need to mess with a classic!) but if you like barbecue sauce, this is definitely a parma for you. See you on Grand Final Day!
Parma - 6.9
Chips - 7.2
Salad - 5.4
Value - 6.5
Total - 6.51
The search continues …