Where? - 14-18 Smith St, Collingwood
Price? - $9.90
Website? - http://www.britishcrown.com.au/
Reviewers – Grace, Lee, Nikki, Tony [/info]
*EDIT* JUST RECEIVED REPORTS THAT THE BRITISH CROWN HAS CLOSED FOR BUSINESS, THIS PARMA IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE (A SHAME, AS THIS WAS A PRETTY DECENT BIRD FOR THE PRICE).
I don't like reviewing parma nights. Don't get me wrong, there are some fantastic parma nights out there, and if you can find one you like hold on to it with all you've got - but the actual act of reviewing a parma night gives me heartburn. With a parma night you can never tell if what you are getting is the real thing or if they are just getting rid of that week's parma-dregs, and I will unfairly review a place based on sub-par parma night parma. The same goes for parmas that have a parma night on a night other than Thursdays, Sure I will mention that they do a deal on a specific night in a review, but I will very rarely put a recommendation behind it unless I have sampled the parma night version specifically.
Which puts me in a bit of a pickle, as these days in Melbourne its hard to find a parma that is value for money unless I hunt it down on a particular night (shoutout to our friends The Happiest Hour for making this all the easier), and Thursday parma nights in particular are as rare as hens teeth.
So early this week I had a hankering. A hankering for a cheap parma that was also quality. It's a sad state of affairs in our fine city when I now consider any parma under $20.00 to be "cheap", but I do. The hunt was on, and the hunt led me to The British Crown Hotel. Nestled away at the top end of Smith St. in Collingwood this joint (on paper, at least) ticked every box. So we loaded up the parma bus and headed out to find my elusive white whale - a cheap, good quality parma.
From the menu online this place looked good. $9.90 parmas all day every day (as well as steaks, $9.90 porterhouse steaks). Not to mention a lengthy menu of $3 pizzas. I'll say that again, Three dollar pizzas. They have a range of food special nights as well, if three buck pizzas didn't already get your taste buds aroused.
I walked in the door and was instantly surprised. To be honest I was expecting a bit of a dive bar, but The British Crown proved me wrong. This place was cosy, clean, an abundance of seating options, a pool table and a ton of TV's - including a big screen projecting ESPN onto the wall. Everything was spotless, looking brand new - I think it's a safe bet that they recently underwent some redecorating and the joint has come up a treat.
We walked through the pub and out the back to the spacious beer garden and pulled up a pew. I was famished by this point and (partly from hunger and partly from curiosity at what a $3 pizza would look like) we started our meal with the garlic and herb pizza, as well as placed the order for our parmas.
The food came out in a flash. Ten minutes - fifteen tops and our four parmas plus pizza were on the table.
We went basic for the pizza as we didn't want to ruin our appetite for the main event. Part of me really wanted to try the other options available (seriously, look at this menu and tell me your mouth isn't watering)
The pizza was solid! Better than some garlic pizza pregames that we have had in the past and at more than half the price. But our parmas were getting cold, so on to the main event.
For $9.90 I wasn't expecting miracles. Hell I wouldn't have been surprised if the schnitzel was a piece of crumbed kitchen sponge. Which is why I think I was so surprised at the quality of the British Crowns schnitzel. Yes it was a bit small, but it was real chicken breast, not a piece of sponge in sight (check out the cross section below if you don't believe me).
The crumbing was a little odd, looking more like a piece of KFC than a chicken schnitzel, but it was well spiced and carried a decent flavour on its own. Good crumb thickness, not overly done at all. The schnitzel was a little dry, but one thought kept running through my mind "This is under ten bucks!"
The toppings were a little sparse, but also solid. The napoli carried a decent flavour (not as "rich" as the menu pointed out, but still pretty good), the cheese was fine and the slice of ham was appreciated - as was the sprinkling of herbs and sprig of parsely. They were trying, clearly with limited resources they were doing their darndest to get a quality meal out the door - and you've got to give them points for that.
Things were pretty sparse on the sides front. The chips were okay. There weren't a heap of them and they weren't seasoned at all - but they were cooked well, and you've gotta love the sauce pot on the plate, the sauce pot really brought these chips back from the brink.
The story with the garden salad was pretty much the same as the chips - not a lot of it, but what was there was fresh and tasty, and the separate salad bowl is always appreciated. It was well dressed with balsamic, but I think we may have been at the end of the dressing bottle as it was quite oily.
The parma wasn't massive, but for under $10 I wasn't expecting it to be. Hell if you are still hungry when you finish this one order a $3 pizza or even another parma, you'd still come out under the $20 mark. We've had parmas worse than the one at the British Crown for over twice the price, and that is no exaggeration. We judge value as "Would I be happy to come back and pay what I did again for the same meal" and I definitely would, without a doubt.
The British Crown impressed me on a lot of fronts. This would be the perfect pub to rock up to on a weekend afternoon, watch the footy on the big screen while grazing on cheap pizzas and top it off with a parma in the evening. If you pop in on Monday or Friday there are even some novelty toppings available to be thrown on for the same price. Sure it wasn't a perfect parma, but for what they are charging they're doing wonders. I'll definitely be back for another $9.90 parma, quite possibly a pizza or two - and I recommend you check it out as well.
- It costs $9.90 and its real chicken
- Sauce pot for the chips, salad bowl for the salad
- It costs $9 friggin .90 and its real chicken! Not to mention $3 pizzas!
- Quite small
- Not a lot of sides
- Chicken was a bit dry