Where? - The Castle Hotel. 56 Courtney St. North Melbourne.
Price? - $20
Website? - http://www.thecastlehotel.com.au/
Reviewers – Cale, Dale, Fridge, Lee, Nikki, Tony, Stefo[/info]
It's Redo week! Where we find a pub that feels harshly done by and give them another shot. This week we had The Castle Hotel in our sights, A pub we visited just shy of 100 parmas ago (check here to read about the last time we stopped in)
First things first, since we last went to The Castle there has been some major changes. New owners, new management, new menu, new parma, and even the pub itself has had a funky facelift.
I always liked The Castle as a pub - it's in a great location and has a fantastic vibe inside. With plenty of room in the dining area, a less formal lounge area for bar snacks and a spacious sports bar with big screen, pool tables and a couple of couches - Which is why I was so bitterly dissappointed with the parma we tried last time. Hoping that they've lifted their game, we checked the menu -
Nice, simple, straight to the point, The first good sign there was some change, as compared to the menu last time around -
Not that I'm against creative menu descriptions, but that menu wrote a cheque that The Castle couldn't cash, if memory serves I described the previous parma experience akin to eating a pair of beige pants. Not the best.
We placed our orders and awaited the arrival of our dinner. I sauntered over to the bar to get my next pint and had a gander of the beers available. As far as selection goes not too shabby at all - They've got Ten different taps going at the Castle (9 beer, 1 cider) as well as a selection of over 40 bottled beers and ciders - with a major Belgian influence - It'd be a hard person to please who couldn't find a beer to tickle their fancy at The Castle Hotel.
There was a bit of a wait for the meals, I was more than 3/4 through my freshly poured pint before our meals came from the kitchen - There's the old saying "good food takes time to prepare". God I hope that held true.
As is standard with Redo Week - first lets take a look at the parma last time around...
And now ... The new one -
Now thats a parma.
The schnitzel itself was thick, juicy and hand crumbed. worlds ahead of the processed lump we got last time. Gone was the slice of ham (unfortunately) but there was plenty of perfectly melty cheese and fresh, flavoursome napoli on top. It was served piping hot, fresh and delicious. The ham was definitely missed, A bit of pig would have really added some 'oomph' to this parma and elevated it from 'great' to 'fantastic'.
One of the best redo comebacks we've seen for sure, it wasn't perfect... But this is what we want from Redo Week.
The cross section after-photo didn't come out so great, steam from the parma fogged up my lens and I didn't realise till after I had polished it off, but you can kinda see the difference with this before and after shot -
The chips were also better. There were heaps of them and like the parma they were hot and crunchy, I also detected a bit of chicken salt on there, I would have been happy with just that, and then the waitress brought us a round of individual sauce pots. Bonus!
The salad is where this parma fell over. Gone was the side-bowl (one of the only things the previous version did right). Some lettuce that was over-dressed yet somehow remained dry, a few slivers of onion and some tomato - There were reports of cucumber as well but that wasn't consistent around the table. A bit disappointing after the first two elements did so well, but you can't win them all.
For $20 I cannot complain about the Castle's new parma. I'd happily return and pay that again with no complaint at all. I saw a few burgers coming out of the kitchen as we were awaiting our parmas and they looked amazing - definitely worth checking out.
The parma was fresh, the chips were tasty but the less said about the salad the better. There is still room for improvement at the castle (ham please!) but overall this is a damn good parma and a hell of an improvement from what it was, I have absolutely no qualms recommending you give this place a go.
Parma - 7.36
Chips - 6.29
Salad - 4.93
Value - 7.14
Total - 6.61
The search continues...