When? - 30th of June, 2010
Where? - Bridie O’Reilly’s, 29 Sydney Rd. Brunswick
Price? - $15.00 Tuesday & Wednesday, $19.90 usual
Barry? - Yes
Website? - http://brunswickrd.bridieoreillys.com.au/
Reviewers - Adam Y, Bec, Cale, Emma, Grace, Janet, Kathleen, Lauren, Lee, Luke, Ness, Nikki, Shanan, Stefo, Tanya, Tony Q[/info]
*update* If you're looking for a review of the Bridies new $4.50 parma special you can check it out by clicking Here.
‘Bridie O’Reilly’s’ (or ‘Bridies’ to the locals) is a tough place to categorize, is it an Irish pub? a restaurant? a nightclub? sometimes all three at once and with three separate locations in Melbourne alone (all with almost identical decor) it seems to be becoming a bit of a pub franchise.
We chose the Brunswick Bridies for this weeks challenge as it is fairly local to all the reviewers, and was the standard place to kick on to after the Prince of Wales closed on a Friday night. Open ‘till all hours of the morning, Bridies gets absolutely packed on weekend nights, with a queue sometimes extending well out on to the street. But will this bode well for the food? After last weeks Grandeoso parma challenge at The Hotel Albion this would be a tough act to follow.
Bridie O’Reilly’s is a huge pub. Entering past the large beer garden would normally put you in the center of the pub, but as the ‘club’ half of the pub is closed off during their quiet hours, we took a right, past the open fire place, couches, row of booth seating, Barry machine and immensely long bar to find the restaurant area. We took a seat, had a chat, and went to the bar to place our order.
There was a little confusion as to the cost & deal available to us on Wednesday night, All the posters and specials boards listed Tuesday night as their ‘Pot, Parma & Trivia - $15’ special night, and Wednesday night as ‘Wing Night’, offering a huge variety of American style chicken wings at 75c a piece. I placed my order only to discover that on the menu itself it is printed that Wednesday night is ‘Parmarama Night’ - $15 with a supposed free pot, which some of us who were unaware of the deal didn’t receive, a few others did because they specifically asked for it. This was a little off putting and definitely hurt the ‘value’ score for Bridies.
The famous ‘Barry’
After we placed our orders a few reviewers wandered around to the ‘Barry’ pub trivia machine that I make a note of in every review. With a lot of interstate (and international) readers now I thought I’d take a minute to clarify what exactly ‘Barry’ is. As you can see from the photo above, Barry is an electronic touch screen video game that is found in a majority of pubs around Melbourne, on it you can play a variety of games such as “Cluedo”, “Monopoly”, “Who wants to be a Millionaire” & “Deal or No Deal”, all the games have been altered slightly to turn them in to multiple choice trivia games, the great part about Barry though is if you are lucky enough to win the game, you can win a cash prize - usually enough to buy a round of beers or even pay for your parma!
After a few games we managed to take $10 out of the machine, with another group scoring $20 earlier in the night, it killed enough time before the parmigianas started arriving.
The Parma looked good on arrival, a sprinkling of shaved parsley always does wonders for the look of a parma, I had a few concerns though as parts of it looked overcooked, and there was enough full frontal schnitzel nudity to give this an MA15+ rating, diners under the age of 15 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian if they want to eat this parma.
On first cut the chicken seemed a thick, but on closer inspection I discovered it was the age old trick of coating it with an obscene amount of crumbs to make it appear bigger than it is. The breast (which was a little pink, and I am dubious if it was breast at all) was a little stringy. It was an edible piece of schnitzel, but it wasn’t great. The napoli sauce was a little rich, but had a good taste to it, very flavoursome and complimented the parma well, same goes for the cheese and the slice of ham - The ham had a very lightly smoked taste which can be a welcome addition to a chicken parmigiana if you like smoked ham, if not it can put you right off.
I’m not sure how they accomplished this, but when the parma arrived it was stacked high on the chips, so much so it was difficult to cut without first pushing the chips aside and taking it down from the pile, however when the parma was removed I discovered that even though it was stacked high on the chips, there were very few under there, I’m sure this breaks a few laws of both physics and nature, but they managed it. The chips themselves were standard pub chips, they arrived with no seasoning whatsoever, but there was Salt, Pepper & Tomato sauce already on the table.
The standard garden salad of rocket, tomato, shaved carrot, cucumber, onion and a rich creamy dressing, it was a perfectly acceptable side dish to the parma, but nothing outstanding.
The Bridies parma is 100% average, it was totally acceptable as a by-the-books chicken parmigiana but there was nothing remarkable about it at all. I suppose it is to be expected from a franchise pub such as this, its kind of like comparing a McDonalds hamburger to one you would get from a restaurant. Not good, not bad, just average.
Sure, they are both technically ‘Hamburgers’ … but which would you prefer?
Parma - 4.6
Chips - 4.1
Salad - 4.3
Value - 4.7
Total - 4.48
The search continues …