Where? - College Lawn Hotel. 36 Greville St, Prahran
Price? - $21.00
Website? - http://collegelawnhotel.com.au/
Reviewers – Ash, Cale, Dale, Em, Kylie B, Lee, Matt, Mel, Ness, Nikki, Shanan, Stefo, Tony [/info]
I've wanted to do The College Lawn forever. Long before Parma Daze was a thing I stopped in for a beer one weekend and fell in love, regular readers will know that I like pubs that have lots of hidden nooks and crannies - College Lawn is the king of this. There are so many little rooms and areas to get lost in you could visit multiple times and not realise you were in the same pub. I have been to the Lawn quite a few times in my years as a legally drinking adult yet I've never tried the parma, last night we rectified that.
College Lawn is a pub in the Melbourne Venue Company group, and the MVC has an amazing pedigree when it comes to parmas. Between The Duke, The Exchange, The Hawthorn, The Portland, The Local and our current #1 parma The Imperial we have yet to have a bad parma from an MVC pub, which means the bar had been set very high for last night's trip to College Lawn
On top of being our #160th parma night, the 24th of October was also the birthday of one of our reviewers, reviewer Nikki, So we pulled the parma bus over at The Cheesecake Shop on the way to Prahran and picked up a little something to celebrate the occasion - What's better than a parma? A parma followed by cheesecake.
We arrived in suburban Prahran and wandered up to The College Lawn. Arguably the best feature of the Lawn is its massive outdoor beer garden, however Melbourne's weather was still being a bi-polar bitch and even the massive industrial strength outdoor heater couldn't save it from being a bit nippy - we opted for a table in the dining room instead.
Once everyone was settled in we picked up the menu and spotted our target...
Top billing on the menu is a good sign, it means they're proud of their parma and don't want to bury it down the bottom of the list. It was a busy review this week, so we placed our order for thirteen parmas and awaited their arrival.
Thursday night at The Lawn is "Pie and Pint night", where you can get your choice of four different pies and a pint for $15 - we saw a lot of these coming out of the kitchen and I've gotta say they looked amazing - If I weren't busy with parmas every Thursday I'd definitely be heading back to give the pies a shot.
One note before we continue - I just wanted to compliment the staff on their attentiveness while we were at The College Lawn last night - They couldn't do enough to help, they offered to put the cheesecake in the fridge, brought out plates and cutlery, even lit the candles when it was time to sing - all without being prompted.
Its the little touches that help with places like this and the staff definitely put in the extra effort to make our experience a special one.
Anyway! before long at all a parade of parmas emerged from the kitchen...
Hmmm. First impressions weren't bad, a little on the small side but thats not a terrible sin, I'd much prefer a great tasting smaller parma than a massive one that tastes like 3 month old cardboard. We picked up our cutlery and tucked in.
Lets get the criticism out of the way first, and there's only one. It was a bit thin. As you can see from the below (blurry, sorry) cross section photo the chicken schnitzel itself was thick enough in some places, yet thinned out to borderline skinny in others.
Other than that it was amazing.
The schnitz was juicy and perfectly cooked, the crumbs were thin and maintained their crunch (and I appreciate that they didn't try to hide the thinner schnitzel under a thick layer of crumbs). The ham was fresh and full of flavour that didn't get hidden amongst the other toppings. They weren't at all tight with the napoli (thank god) it was chunky, wholesome and complimented the other toppings perfectly. The cheese mix was definitely the star of the parma, like the napoli it wasn't in short supply, cooked to a perfect golden brown. The cheese mix must have been heavy on tasty cheese as it had a sharp tang that would probably be the closest tasting cheese mix we've had to the old POW parma that started this all.
The chips were perfection in potato form. A massive pile of beer battered beauties that carried so much crunch I'd swear they were double-fried. They were piping hot and beautifully seasoned, If they had've come with a pot of dipping sauce they would have been a perfect 10, no question.
Even the salad was quite good - not the best we've had but it could definitely hold its own. Fresh ingredients, plenty of chunks of crisp cucumber and capsicum all topped off with a creamy dressing, also points for the separate bowl so I don't get salad juice all over my parma. I would've loved some onion through it though.
For $21 I was damn happy with the meal College Lawn put up, yeah its a little pricey for a parma but I would happily pay it again for a meal of this calibre. They don't have a specific "Parma Night" on the menu, but Monday night is "Locals night", with a selection of meals for $12 - They'd be crazy not to put the parma in that category.
Other than some schnitzel thickness issues the College Lawn served a damn good parma and I would have absolutely no qualms recommending it to anyone. For the best College Lawn experience wait until the weather clears up and head over on a weekend afternoon, have a pint in the sun and down some quality food - you won't be disappointed.
- Amazing chips
- Perfect toppings on parma, great tasty cheese mix
- Fresh salad with plenty of ingredients and separate bowl
- Thin-ish schnitzel, a little small.
After the meal we did the birthday thing...
Happy Birthday Knickers!
Parma - 7.85
Chips - 9.00
Salad - 7.50
Value - 7.62
Total - 7.96
The search continues...