Price? - $24
Website? - http://www.grosvenorhotel.com.au/
Reviewers – Cale, Lee, Nikki, Stefo, Tony [/info]
Towards the end of last year I was invited to the Grosvenor to compete in their "Parma Smackdown" event, trialling a multitude of different novelty parmas. Unfortunately it was on the same night that we presented The Imperial with their parma of the year trophy, so I couldn't make it. I was spewing I missed it, luckily it was covered in depth by a few of my fellow food-blog comrades so I managed to get a peek at what was in store.
Fast forward to last night and it was time to see what all the fuss was about, so we loaded up the parma bus and headed to The Grosvenor Hotel in St. Kilda.
When we first drove past the Grosvenor my heart sank a little - It was a massive building with a Thirsty Camel drive through Bottle-o and a sign advertising that it was a pokies venue. Uh-oh, had we signed up for a parma at a corporate, soulless McPub?
Luckily I couldn't have been more wrong, Inside the Grosvenor is a damn impressive establishment. Beautifully decked out, separate areas for dining, an adjoining wine bar, cosy cocktail bar and sun-filled courtyard. You could visit the Grosvenor five times and have a completely different experience in each, yes the pokies were there, but they were in a removed, quiet and unobtrusive room. The best way to have them.
On top of an impressive cocktail menu (2-for-1 on Thursday nights - bonus!) The beer list was also extensive offering a few favourites such as Mountain Goat Steam Ale, Stone & Wood, Moo Brew and Two Brothers on tap, with a larger section in bottles - enough to satisfy any craving. I grabbed a pint of Stone & Wood and took a seat in the dining area...
No nonsense menu, target sighted and ordered (with a woodfired cheese & herb pizza for pre-game). While we're on the subject of the menu, I've gotta mention this -
That just sounds amazing doesn't it? I'd love to come back with a larger group and give it a go.
Shortly after ordering the pre-game arrived...
Scrumptious! That was polished off rather quickly, It's also worth mentioning this other little tidbit I noticed on the menu -
I think its safe to say the winners of last year's "Parma Smackdown" would be featured on the Wednesday parma night, also worth looking into in the future.
Not long after we polished off the pizza did the parmas arrive...
The chicken schnitzel was top notch. Tender and brimming with juice with crunchy crumbs (on top at least, there was a little sogging on the bottom, but nothing major). While a little small in circumference it more than made up for it in thickness. It tasted fresh and was full of flavour.
The toppings only improved from there. A generous lashing of ham, the napoli was in abundance as was the cheese blend, which had just the right amount of a tasty cheese kick to it while still retaining the elasticity of mozzarella. Grilled to a perfect golden brown, this parma was an absolute joy.
The hand cut chips looked impressive on the plate, and in general were pretty solid - but there's a danger when serving up hand cut chips such as these - as they blur the line between a "chip" and a "quarter of a potato". Some of them were perfect sized, some were ridiculously big. All were delicious and fluffy inside, but with that much potato they were in desperate need of a dipping sauce. If you order the hand cut chips off the "small plates" menu they come with an espelet pepper aioli - which would have been absolutely perfect to break up the onslaught of potato. Luckily we asked for a pot of good ol' tomato sauce and that did the job fine.
No need to sugar coat it, the salad was a let down. Cabbage, lettuce, carrot and a whole heap of fennel tossed in some olive oil. Maybe its just because I've never been big on fennel in salad but this pile of greens did nothing for me or anyone else on the table. Sure it was fresh, can't fault them for that, but without a dressing all I could taste was oil and fennel (if you haven't had fennel in salad before it has a very strong aniseed taste, like black liquorice) after such a strong start the salad was a disappointing way to finish off the meal.
For $24 it is a bit pricey but I wouldn't grumble too much having to pay that again, everything on the plate was made with the highest quality ingredients and care, and sometimes you have to chip in a few extra bucks to get that on your plate. The $15 parma night is definitely appealing, and if you were intending on checking this place out I'd definitely say to stop in on a Wednesday - and who doesn't love some free trivia thrown in? nobody, thats who (wooo, double negatives!).
Despite a couple of speed bumps the Grosvenor is an impressive establishment with an equally impressive parma. From the outside it seems like just another corporate, soulless pub - yet inside they have managed to imbue so much character into those walls, the care they have taken really shines, from the decor to the menu, you can tell some love has gone into this pub and I'd be happy to go back again.
On the way out I spotted what I assume is that $600 suckling pig hanging in the meat fridge... I'll be back for you Babe!
- Fantastic quality ingredients
- Delicious parma
- Quality chunky chips
- Disappointing salad
- Chunky chips needed a dipping sauce