Where? - The Hawthorn Hotel, 481 Burwood Rd. Hawthorn
Price? - $21 regular, $22.5 mexican
Website? - http://thehawthorn.com/
Reviewers – Fridge, Lee, Matt, Nikki, Stefo, Tony[/info]
When the poll went up last week I was not expecting such emphatic support for The Hawthorn. It started slow, with a few votes here and there, then out of nowhere there was a wave of fans, not only casting their vote, but pleading in the comments below that we give it a try. Who were we to say no?
I hadn't been to The Hawthorn in years, the last time being when "23Past" (the cover band that played at The Prince of Wales) got a gig playing at The Hawthorn as well and we went to check it out. The POW burnt down over three years ago now, and it was long before that that I ventured to the Hawthorn. Long story short - it was ages ago.
Being literally across the road from Swinburne, the Hawthorn is most definitely a uni pub, and a staple of the uni pub is the cheap meal deal - which The Hawthorn is not in short supply of. "Parmageddon" falls on Monday night, and comes with a choice of 10 alter-egos and trivia for $13 - not a bad deal. The night we were there (Thursday) was "International Burger Night". I didn't see a menu, so I can't be sure what exactly makes the burgers "International", but tantalising none the less.
There were tables for dining scattered all over the dance floor and around the corner, as well as some comfy couches by the doors. We had a table booked but moments after arriving the acoustic band on stage fired up, now I don't mind a bit of background music while I eat and nothing against the band itself, but the music was just too damn loud - It was Friday-night-11pm loud, which is acceptable for Friday nights at 11pm, but not for 7pm on a Thursday when everyone in your bar is trying to eat, It was to the point where we had to shout our orders for drinks and food over the bar and opted to sit outside in the inside/outside courtyard instead of on the dance floor
I sound like a cranky old man in that last paragraph. Get off my lawn!
As you can see, there is a choice for either Mexican or Regular parma, both looked equally delicious however everyone at the table opted for some standard parmas, we placed the order and waited for the birds to arrive, but not before a bit of communal pregame -
Wedges with sweet chilli & sour cream
Didn't take too long for the parmas to start filing out of the kitchen, between a quarter and a half of a pint drinking time.
Click the pic to enlarge
First impressions - Impressive.
Massive, juicy schnitzel with beautifully crunchy crumbs that would have been a fine dish without the toppings, Perfect schnitzel thickness and cooked to perfection.
The toppings were a bit of a mixed bag. First up, the cheese. There was a lot of cheese, which isn't necessarily a bad thing however this was all mozzarella, which has a tendency to be a bit bland when its the only thing you're eating, a multiple cheese blend would do this parma wonders.
The Napoli. Again, there was a lot of it, it was fresh and flavoursome - but funnily enough it was rarely in the same place as the cheese, one bite you would get all napoli, the next all cheese. The bits where they were in balance were great, but more often than not it was all or nothing.
The ham was there, but it didn't bring much to the party, When I have to check to see if there is ham on the parma it isn't a great sign, but points for having it at least.
I'm being critical. all up the elements came together to form a damn fine parma, with a few tweaks it could be outstanding, but as it stands it's still one I'd be happy to return for.
The chips were, in a word, Amazeballs (okay, that isn't a word technically but it definitely is an accurate description of these chips) Beer battered chips that were somewhere between fries and chunky chips, cooked to perfection - crunchy outside and soft inside. I was worried when we sat in the courtyard that there was no salt on the table, was relieved to find it wasn't needed in the slightest, perfectly seasoned
It's not often I feel the chips warrant their own photo, but this week definitely. The star of the dish -
Now when the parmas arrived, Reviewer Nikki pulled a chip out of her pile and let out an audible "Woah!" I looked over to see her holding up the biggest chip I have ever seen.
We saved it till last and kept it to the side, get a load of this monster (laying across the center of a full sized dinner plate)-
How big was the potato that this chip was birthed from?
The salad was average, Garden salad of lettuce, cucumber, tomato onion and grilled capsicum with some cream dressing. It wasn't particularly objectionable and the grilled capsicum was a nice touch, but nothing fantastic.
For $21 I was happy with what I got, if you check in when you arrive at The Hawthorn on a Thursday you get a free pot, which is a nice little touch and definitely appealing to the student crowd. If the parma maintains the same quality as it does tonight as it does on their Tuesday & Saturday "$13 pot and parma nights" then I would say it's one of the best value parma n' pot deals we have found so far.
After the pregaming and the sizable parma we struggled to clear our plates. The entrees definitely weren't necessary as The Hawthorn offers up a parma that it would be hard to walk away from hungry. It was a great parma in a pretty good location (the raised beer garden would be perfect for a summer parma in the sun) - A student's dream, definitely one worth checking out.
Parma - 7.50
Chips - 8.67
Salad - 5.25
Value - 7.25
Total - 7.23
The search continues...