Where? - 161 Errol St, North Melbourne
Price? - $18
Reviewers – Dale, Lee, Nikki, Stefo [/info]
Long before we started our quest, the Keepers Arms in North Melbourne was considered among many circles to be one of the best parmas Melbourne had to offer. Unfortunately we never made it to The Keepers before they closed down a few years ago and we can no longer verify that claim - A fact that keeps me awake at night to this day.
A few weeks ago I was in a cab on the way home from a very salubrious night on the town and we happened to drive past The Limerick Castle. Now lets just say I'd had quite a few red cordials at this point, so my judgement was quite impaired. I spotted the Limerick and for some reason thought it was the Keepers. "The Limerick has re-opened!" I exclaimed, like Archimedes in his bathtub "I can finally have their awesome parma!"
I sobered up, yet for some reason the confusion remained in my mind. The Limerick Castle was The Keepers in my head, so we loaded up the parma bus to see if they had "returned" with a quality parma, To be fair the pubs are walking distance from each other...
Then we arrived and I realised my mistake. This place had been here for a long time... We weren't where I thought we were going but what the hell! There's a parma on the menu, $5 crown stubbies all day every day - What more could a guy ask for? (also, for the curious, The Keepers Arms has re-opened, but as "The Crimean", an Eastern European themed gastropub with no parma on the menu) We grabbed a table and checked out the menu -
The Limerick Castle feels like it should be in Creswick, or Trentham, or Ballan. Or any regional Victorian town - not North Melbourne. It gives off a major 'country pub' vibe - which I love. There's a TAB up one end, bar in the middle and Bistro down the other. The Menu (pictured above) is choc full of rural pub staples, where else in Melbourne can you order "Bangers", rissoles or my second favourite dish of all time - Chicken Kiev.
We placed our order, grabbed another round of $5 Crownies and kicked back, a few punts on the greyhounds proved quite fruitful and we wound up winning back what we paid for the food! A lovely bonus.
Shortly after ordering we were delivered a basket of mini bake-at-home rolls. I love when pubs do this, its a small touch, but I love it. Although I did have a giggle at the amount of butter we were given for four small rolls...
After the appetisers were finished off I took the opportunity to take a stroll out to the beer garden I could spy from the bistro window - I think its a rule that all pubs in North Melbourne have a surprisingly cosy beer garden out the back, and The Limerick certainly didn't disappoint. Plenty of outdoor seating, a large TV up on the wall, it'd be a great spot for a few pints and a meal in the sun (once this ridiculous Melbourne weather clears up, that is)
I was almost done with my crownie when the food started filing out of the kitchen...
First up the schnitzel was made from pure, unprocessed chicken breast - always a great start. No overcrumbing here, however the crumbs were a bit flaky and dropped off the bottom of the schnitz quite a lot.
Heaps of gooey cheese and napoli draped over the top of the schnitzel, both carrying fantastic flavour - the cheese carried a sharp twang and the napoli retained a fresh tomato flavour (as opposed to the acidity of tomato paste). There was a thick slice of ham in there as well, but it got a bit lost amongst the strong flavours of the napoli and cheese.
Criticism-wise my main complaint would be it was quite oily, there was oil on top of the parma when it was served that was present for the whole dish. It didn't hamper my enjoyment of a quality parma much, but its worth nothing.
The chips were quite good - a massive pile of fish & chip shop style chips, they were served freshly cooked and piping hot. Other than needing to reach for the salt shaker there's little to complain about for what they were.
Despite being another standard garden salad its hard to complain about this one - chock full of crisp carrot, cucumber, lettuce, tomato & onion and plenty of dressing. Like the chips, for what it was it was done well.
Its a sad state of affairs when anything under $20 these days qualifies as "cheap" for a pub meal - but I guess that's the world we live in! I would have no qualms in shelling out another $18 for the parma at The Limerick - not to mention $5 crown lagers all day every day to sweeten the deal. There's a parma night on Tuesday ($15 if memory serves) and Quiz Meisters on Wednesday, both worth checking out.
So despite the initial confusion it turned out to be a happy accident discovering The Limerick Castle. The parma isn't perfect, it has a couple of issues and there's definitely room for improvement, but if you're after a laid back spot with a country feel and a good, honest pub meal then I'd definitely recommend checking it out.
- $5 Crown Lager stubbies. All day Every day.
- Unprocessed, quality ingredients
- Large serving of chips
- Bake at home rolls served before meal
- Parma was quite oily
- Crumbs fell away from chicken
Parma - 6.88
Chips - 6.00
Salad - 6.50
Value - 7.38
Total - 6.73
The search continues...