[info]When? - 20th of September, 2013
Where? - Saint & Rogue, 582 Little Collins St. Melbourne
Price? - $24
Website? - http://www.saintandrogue.com.au/
Reviewers – Adam, Cale, Dale, Lee, Tony, Stefo[/info]
Saint & Rogue is one of those pubs that I loved as soon as I walked in the door. Dark stained wood, cosy dimly lit corners and an abundance of overstuffed leather couches to sink into. They bill themselves as "...a place that gets back to the roots of a quality pub", and to their credit they've got it just right.
S&R is divided into two areas, the public bar downstairs and the dining/seated area upstairs. Downstairs struck me as the lovechild of Turf Bar and The Local Taphouse - Some of my favourite pubs in Melbourne. When we arrived at 7 o'clock it was already bustling with suited professionals knocking back some post-work bevvies. While waiting for the rest of the review team to arrive it was a bit of a struggle to find somewhere to rest an elbow, but once I found a snug corner to hang my hat the beers went down a treat.
Speaking of beers, there's a pretty decent range of beers on tap, from the standard Boags to "The Grizz American Amber Ale" You're sure to find a drop that'll quench your thirst, all running at between $10 and $11 per pint.
Photo from hiddencitysecrets.com.au
Once the crew arrived we ventured up the stairs to the dining area. Compared to downstairs I was shocked at how quiet it was, We took our seats by the window and couldn't see anyone else in the room (although they could have been hiding, S&R makes great use of wooden screens to divide off different areas, creating some quite intimate, candelit spaces for romantic evenings - this would be a great pub to bring a date).
Upstairs was surprisingly spacious (possibly an illusion as it was so quiet) but the exposed beams and high roof made for a fantastic hidden space, watching the hustle and bustle of Little Collins street go by down below was a lovely way to enjoy a meal.
Photo from hiddencitysecrets.com.au
The menus arrived right on time as we were all starving, We decided on a small pre-game before moving on to the main event, checking the menu we found a couple of tantalising options...
Sounds delicious! And what pre-game in Australia would be complete without the classic...
All of the food arrived very promptly, I won't spend a whole chunk of time talking about the entrees, mostly because they went so quickly I didn't have a chance to snap a photo, But I will say this - They were fantastic.
The garlic bread was fresh, not at all tight on the garlic butter and cooked perfectly on the border of crunchy edges but still soft in the middle, the capsicum dip with crostini was delicious as was the feta & marinated olives. I don't know what they did to those button mushrooms that were on the plate but they were absolutely divine. If this was any sort of indicator of the quality of the parma then we were in for a good bit of bird.
Oh, I forgot to mention, when we ordered the pre-game we also ordered the parmas...
And just as we finished the last of the grazing plate they arrived from the kitchen. Perfect timing.
At first I thought "uh-oh". It looked tiny, especially next to the monumental mountain of salad beside it. I quickly separated the three elements - rescuing the chips from their sweaty prison, and tucked in.
Phew, relief as soon as I cut into it. Although small in circumference the schnitzel was substantially thick, scroll down slightly and take a look at the cross section, this was a thick bit of chicken. Top quality pure white chicken breast, no tricks with thick crumbs in sight. Okay. We're back on track.
There was plenty of cheese and napoli covering the top, no nude schnitz anywhere, The toppings both tasted fresh and complimented the quality chicken perfectly - It was on track to being a very highly rated parma.
Unfortunately (uh oh...) It was let down by a few factors. First of all there was no ham - now I know this is a personal choice, and its more of a Melbourne thing than a universal parma thing, but I like a bit of pork on my parma. It doesn't have to be there, and I can definitely live without it (hell the old Prince of Wales parma didn't have ham and I still consider that the best we've ever had), but this parma could have used it. It needed that kick to get it over the line.
Secondly, and most disappointing, it was cold. Warm at best. I didn't understand as it was out of the kitchen so quickly, maybe due to the thickness of the chicken it just didn't hold its heat. I don't know. I asked around the table and this only affected 4 of the 6 parmas served, but even so it was a bit of a disappointment.
Other than that - Top quality parma. I'm sure the temperature issue was just an isolated incident, and the lack of ham is more of a personal complaint than something actually wrong with the dish. All in all a quality bit of schnitz that I'd happily give another go.
Now to the chips. There were plenty of them hiding under the parma, but I could see their problem as soon as I removed the schnitzel - They were undercooked. You know when chips are almost done and the top is still slightly shiny as opposed to crispy? Like that. Other than that they were okay, I loved the open pots of rock salt and pepper on the table for pinching, they served the chips very well.
As soon as I saw "mixed leaf" salad on the menu I knew it'd be boring, I've never come across a mixed leaf salad that I've enjoyed. The did fancy it up a little with some other ingredients but for the most part it was a fairly bland garden salad. Don't get me wrong, all the elements were fresh and there was plenty of it, it's just hard to wow me with different varieties of lettuce.
When I first saw the parma I was afraid it wasn't going to fill me at all - Yet when the cutlery hit the plate I was relatively stuffed. For $24 I'd be more than happy to give it a go next time I was at the Saint & Rogue, If I was in the Spencer St end of the city and had a hankering for a parma it would definitely be considered. I only just noticed that Thursday is $6 pints of Boags, Kicking myself I didn't stick to those last night instead of downing a few pints of Heineken .
All up Saint & Rogue is a fantastic little pub that serves up quality ingredients. The entrees were spot on and the parma itself was pretty good, other than a few unfortunate (and hopefully not repeated) circumstances letting it down it's definitely one to check out if you're in the area.
- Amazing pub, fantastic hidden gem
- Thick, fresh, high quality chicken breast
- Plenty of cheese and napoli - No nude schnitzel
- Deceptively big
- Plenty of sides, massive salad
- No ham
- Parma was warm at best
- Chips were undercooked
- Salad was bland
Parma - 7.75
Chips - 6.17
Salad - 5.50
Value - 5.67
Total - 6.57
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