[info]When? - 20th of March, 2014
Website? - http://www.lomondhotel.com.au/
Reviewers – Dale, Kylie B, Lee, Nikki, Shanan, Stefo [/info]
I couldn't tell you why we picked the Lomond Hotel this week. I didn't feel like travelling far so I checked our 'to try' list for a parma around the Brunswick area - Its slim pickings these days for a parma in Brunswick we haven't already reviewed, but we managed to find one - The Lomond Hotel in Brunswick East.
At face value the Lomond looks like a pub I would like. It's a locals pub with a solid live music background and (what I heard) to be decent pub grub. A tick in every box and on walking into the front bar its exactly what we were greeted with, it wasn't a lot to look at, but it had character - and thats all you need in a local pub.
I grabbed a pint of Brunswick Bitter and checked out the blackboard menu over the bar...
Target sighted. Chicken parma $18, with a $1 extra for a slice of ham - Keep this in mind, as this whole review is going to revolve around what is written on that board.
So everyone rocks up, I tell the bar guy that I booked a table earlier that afternoon and we were ushered through to the dining room - a very nicely fitted out area with more of a restaurant feel, tablecloths, wine glasses and cloth napkins on the table. You get the idea.
We take our seats and crack open our menus. Uh oh ... There's no parma listed on the Dining Room menu. We debate moving back into the front bar, but when we walked through I didn't see a table for 6 available. I asked the waitress if we could order food from the bar menu in the dining room, she said yes, however there would be a "$2 surcharge for the linens". A little annoying, but fair enough. You pay extra for table service, we took the hit and ordered our 6 chicken parmas, all with ham (for an extra $1 surcharge), along with a couple of garlic breads to start things off
The garlic bread's came and went very quickly - quite tasty, if anything a little too heavy on the garlic, but a nice start to the meal.
The parmas arrived...
Looking quite impressive on the plate I tucked in as soon as it fell. The schnitzel, while being a little on the thin side, was pure chicken breast, juicy and flavourful . The crumbs deserve a paragraph of their own as they were absolutely perfect - crisp and crunchy, golden brown and delicious. It's a sign of a good parma when you can eat the schnitz by itself and not miss the toppings. Quality foundation for this bird.
The toppings were a bit of a mixed bag. The cheese and napoli were applied liberally and well cooked, can't fault them for that - but they both took a back seat to the ham - well worth the $1 surcharge, the smoked ham infused the whole parma with a strong smokey flavour - If you aren't a fan of smoked ham then definitely go with the standard parma, as all I could taste for the majority of the meal was smoked ham - Luckily, I love smoked ham.
The chips were plump, fresh and well cooked. They needed a little seasoning, and were slightly oily, but overall they were a great accompaniment to a solid meal. Some dipping sauce would have been lovely
The salad was also impressive - A big bowl chock full of ingredients. Half garden salad, half greek salad (olives, but no feta) it was very well dressed, fresh and tasty - My one complaint would be that they used olives that still had the pits in them, my first bite I almost cracked a tooth biting down on one - If you're going to use olives in a salad take the pits out. Other than that it was a fine salad.
So this is where I normally put the quotes, then go on to the "Value" section of the review after that - but the value is such an important factor in this review I am bringing it forward.
So we were all kicking back, enjoying the post-parma glow, finishing off our pints and generally getting ready to leave when the bill arrived - which kind've stopped us in our tracks.
Take a look at the receipt first and see what you make of it...
So, the two garlic breads, $7 each - fine
6 Parmas, at ... Hold on, $19.50 each? But the board said $18? Maybe thats the linen surcharge built into the price.
What? $4 extra each for salad!?
and whats after that? "Butter sauce" ... I'm assuming the "butter sauce" is the ham surcharge just listed under another name, which is, again, fair enough.
But lets review, A parma that is listed as $18 on the menu comes out at $19.50, plus a dollar surcharge for ham, $20.50, plus a completely unmentioned four dollar charge for salad thrown on top. All of a sudden our $18 parma is costing us $24.50 each.
Now I'm not a tightass, If the menu had've listed the parma at $24.50 I probably wouldn't have looked twice - but don't try and pull shady surcharge bullshit (pardon my language) to squeeze some extra bucks out of me. A $2 surcharge for using the dining room is fair enough, an unmentioned $4 salad surcharge is just taking advantage.
The Lomond served up a great parma, I really enjoyed it until the bill arrived, however all the mess with the bill afterwards left a sour taste in my mouth. If they were honest and upfront about the price from the beginning this would have been a much more positive review, but after the crap they pulled last night I doubt I would go back.
- Some of the crispiest crumbs we've encountered
- Flavoursome smoked ham
- Quality chips and salad
- All round great pub meal
- Shady surcharges turned an $18 parma into a $24.50 parma