Where? - Hofbräuhaus, 18-28 Market Ln, Melbourne.
Price? - $29.50 for the "Swiss" hähnchenschnitzel
Website? - http://www.hofbrauhaus.com.au/
Reviewers – Fridge, Lee, Stefo, Tony[/info]
Hofbräuhaus is a weird one. I'd heard about it many times, and it sounded like an awesome pub, yet for some reason the idea of doing a parma never crossed my mind. It had been suggested that we give it a go quite a few times, however I always dismissed it, as I was pretty sure that (being a traditional German pub) they wouldn't go near the idea of a "parma" and stick to strictly schnitzels (ten points if you can say "stick to strictly schnitzels" five times fast).
After the 23rd time it had been recommended to me it was time to check it out, I logged on to the website and took a gander at their online menu. Schnitzels? Check. Parmas?...kinda.
The "Swiss" schnitzel caught my eye. topped with ham, tomato and cheese? Sounds like a parma to me! It was decided. We loaded up the parma bus and headed to Hofbräuhaus
There's a few options when going to Hofbräu, there's the downstairs restaurant, the downstairs pub or the upstairs beer hall. I asked the staff what they would recommend - All areas have the same menu however the beer hall upstairs has live music - sold.
We arrived at the beer hall and took our seats, when they say that Hofbräuhaus is "a little piece of Bavaria in the heart of Melbourne" they are right on the money. Everything is perfect, from the live band playing traditional bouncy German music. to the waitresses all dressed in Bavarian bar maid outfits.
We took our seats, ordered our parmas, then tackled the beer list.
Beers at Hofbräuhaus come in 3 sizes. 250ml, 500ml and 1 Litre. Any pub that sells beer by the litre is a winner in my book. The menus (both for food and drink) are quite daunting, as the names for everything written in German. Rather than try and pronounce "HB Dunkel Weizen" I opted for the much easier "point to the menu and I'll have that one" method, which worked fine.
Before too long our schnitzels arrived (I'm trying to refrain from calling it a parma as, strictly speaking, its a "Swiss hähnchenschnitzel"
Well this was unexpected! It seems when the menu at Hofbräu claims that their Swiss schnitzel comes with "tomato" they mean it literally!
Rather than traditional napoli, Hofbräuhaus has gone with layering the schnitzel with slices of fresh tomato. I knew from the get-go that this wasn't going to be your average parma, so we picked up our cutlery and dug in.
If there's one thing the germans know how to do, its schnitzel. The bird underneath the toppings was stellar. Not to thin but not too thick while still maintaining a healthy size, Oven baked, freshly crumbed marinated chicken breast - it tasted fresh, as if it had only been crumbed minutes before. This is definitely a pub that prides itself in the quality of its schnitzels, and it shows - could easily stand on its own without the toppings at all as an amazing dish.
Hard to tell from the above photo, but there was a heap of ham on this parma, mutliple layers of shaved smoked leg ham added a delicious smokey flavour to the dish. As with the ham the cheese was also not in short supply - in fact all the toppings were applied liberally, and the slightly different taste that swiss cheese put through the dish made this a surprisingly different tasting dish.
Now, the tomato. Normally I am not a raw tomato fan. When its in a salad I steer clear, however on top of the Schnitzel and layered under the cheese it was definitely hard to avoid this time around so when I tucked into my meal ... I actually enjoyed it. The fresh tomato adds a much more subtle flavour to the dish, avoiding the punch that some napoli sauces carry - I said it earlier, but the sliced tomato added to the fresh vibe this parma gave off. I did miss a bit of garlic and some of the other spices that napoli provides, but had to keep in mind that this is not your traditional chicken parma, its a traditional German/Swiss hähnchenschnitzel.
ParmaCam 2.0! A little shaky this week as its the first ParmaCam in months. But stick with it! it'll only get better from here
[youtube id="xL0whb8Rwwc" width="580" height="337"]
Hiding under the parma (and from the lens of my camera) was a decent serving of chips, Once I freed them from they Schnitzy-prison they served as a great accompaniment to the dish and were well cooked and seasoned - however what brings these chips up from "pretty good" to "outstanding" is the pot of garlic and herb mayo provided with all the hähnchenschnitzels - I used a bit of it with the schnitzel itself, but the majority of the mayo served as chip dip - and an amazing chip dip it was! Perfectly balanced with the garlic and herbs, it was a great addition to the plate.
The garden salad didn't look impressive on the plate, and I wasn't really looking forward to it - yet on tucking in I was pleasantly surprised. It had plenty of balsamic dressing and (like everything else on the plate) tasted as fresh as if it were just plucked from the garden.
Now the bit that will probably turn a few of you away from Hofbräuhaus, the price. Clocking in at $29.50 the Schnitzel at Hofbräu is the most expensive we have reviewed to date. Don't get me wrong, it was great... Nobody walked away from the table hungry and I'd definitely have it again, however I wont lie - shelling out almost $30 for a parma did sting a little.
Hofbräuhaus is an experience you should try. Plain and simple. If you like great beer served in mammoth quantities, great food and an amazing atmosphere that you won't find anywhere else in Melbourne, then Hofbräu is the place to be. Just be aware that when you go for dinner that you aren't going for a parma, You're going for a traditional German schnitzel - if you keep an open mind and like trying something a bit different, then you'll definitely have a good time.
Parma - 7.36
Chips - 7.39
Salad - 6.72
Value - 5.95
Total - 6.96
The search continues...