[info]When? - 4th of April, 2014
Website? - http://www.crownmelbourne.com.au/cotta
Reviewers – Emma, Fridge, Grace, Lee, Matt, Nikki, Stefo, Tony [/info]
Cotta opened a few months ago as part of Crown Casino's new "West End" renovations, at first it was an ordinary cafe for mid-gambling noms, however a few weeks ago Cotta added some signage to their restaurant, that a keen eyed fan on facebook spotted and alerted us too.
Cotta was no longer just Cotta, Cotta was now "Cotta - Home of the Parma"
Big call. Massive call. We had planned to visit a different pub this week but upon hearing this we dropped our plans and made a beeline for Crown, it was time for Cotta to put their money where their mouths are. Parmas where there mouths are. Parmas where our mouths are. Wow, that sounds dirty.
In my pre-review recon I was on the Cotta website and noticed this deal -
I initially did a double take. Two parmas and a jug ... for $24? Thats a deal that sounds far too good to be true, and not only that, it covers their novelty parma varieties as well. All the same price, two for $24 with a jug. If this was a good parma the value would be off the charts. I checked the parma menu just to see what we were in for...
As far as novelty toppings go this one showed promise, as a parma purist I went with the 'Margherita' but a few at the table strayed, with Reviewer Em getting the Italian, and reviewers Stefo and Fridge getting the "Breakfast" (while we're on the subject, the "Breakfast" should really be called the "Aussie" - I don't know about you guys but I've never considered onion rings a breakfast staple)
We arrived and took our seats - One thing that worried me a little was that there was no signage at all about the "2 and a jug for $24" deal, not on the walls, specials board or the menu - however asking the waiter he confirmed that the deal is still valid, so remember that if you go in - although it may not be signed be sure to ask for it.
Having eight people at the review worked out nicely as we were able to split it up into four deals, meaning we were due four jugs of beer. Then a strange thing happened - after two jugs arrived it was a good twenty minutes before we saw our third, then our fourth didn't seem to be arriving, I questioned this and was told that they only have three jugs. I looked around and there wasn't a single jug on the other tables, so it seems that a bar in crown casino is only stocked with three empty jugs ... a bar that offers a parma deal involving jugs only has three jugs behind the bar.
My brain hurts.
We finished off a jug and gave it to them for a refill, not really a problem - but worth noting.
After a 20 minute wait our parmas arrived from the kitchen
The Original -
The Italian -
First things first, the parma. It was ... Okay, The schnitzel itself was either very good prefab chicken or very bad real chicken breast. It had a grain, so at least it wasn't a giant chicken nugget, however it cut and held its shape far too well to be completely natural. In terms of flavour there wasn't much to write home about in the schnitzel. The crumbs were quite soggy and all up it wasn't far off from cutting into a damp sponge.
The toppings (on the magherita) were pretty similar. There was plenty of cheese and ham (two slices of ham definitely a nice touch) but it was all insanely bland. The cheese was like rubber, the ham completely tasteless and I had to physically check to make sure the napoli was there (there was, but there wasn't much of it)
I'm coming off harsh, there wasn't anything particularly objectionable about this parma, but it was just boring. Nothing in the parma had any flavour, it was honestly as entertaining as chewing on wet cardboard. After a few bites I immediately reached for the salt and pepper to bring it to life. I had major food envy and regretted not getting the novelty toppings, as they looked quite good.
The chips, on the other hand, were quite good. Well cooked, hot, crunchy and nicely seasoned. A fitting side to the dish that went very quickly.
The salad, like the chips, was surprisingly flavourful. Plenty of ingredients and a healthy serve of a tangy dressing made it an enjoyable side dish.
Even though the parma was "meh" the value on this dish is phenomenal - If you can score the "2 parmas and a jug for $24" deal I honestly don't think it can be beat. I'm not sure how much Crown charges for a jug, but a pint at the bar beforehand ran me ten bucks - so the jug has got to be at least $15. Which would make these parmas what ... $5 each? If you're in crown and got a hankering for a parma I'd have another look in, definitely better than the Schnitz in the food court.
I think that this is one of those parmas that I can only recommend with the novelty toppings. It's an extremely beige base that needs the extras on top to carry it over the line. I don't normally recommend a parma based on its novelty factor, but at a price like this its hard to ignore.
Cotta is most definitely not the "Home of the Parma" but if you feel like a feed between spins of the roulette wheel, and are with another person to take advantage of the double parma deal, then its worth popping your head in and checking out. Novelty parmas only though.
- 2 Parmas and a jug for $24 deal is amazing value
- good range of novelty options
- Standard parma is bland as bland can be.