Website? - http://imperialsouthyarra.com/
Reviewers – Cale, Lee, Matt, Nikki, Stefo [/info]
One year ago a friend (and fellow reviewer) posted this photo on my facebook wall -
I promised we would get to it as soon as possible ... but then kind've forgot about it (sorry Janet!).
Until this week! Being in a bit of a drought of good parmas I was craving a good one, I wanted a sure thing and my mind was cast back to when a good looking parma was posted to my facebook - I tracked it down, worked out where it was and the next thing I knew we were walking in the doors of The Imperial South Yarra.
We arrived about half an hour early - luckily that we did because we stumbled on one of the best happy hour's we have seen in some time - Thursday from 5 - 7pm is "$6 Everything" meaning every drink, other than cocktails and bottles of wine, is six bucks. We grabbed ourselves a few 6 buck pints of white rabbit (half price!), took a seat at our table and eyed the menu -
Sounds good! we ordered at the bar and kicked back, discussed the latest episode of Game of Thrones, and waited for our parmas to arrive.
About half a pint later our dinner emerged from the kitchen -
If we rated parmas purely on schnitzel quality this one would be close to a 10 out of ten. Juicy, flavoursome, perfect crispy crumbs and unbelievably thick (check the cross section a little further down). I always say you can judge the overall quality of a parma by how good the schnitzel tastes before you add the toppings - A lot of pubs use the toppings (especially novelty toppings) to cover a sub par schnitz, but if you start with a solid foundation, as The Imperial clearly has, then you're well on the way to being the best.
If I had to make one criticism it would be that some of the parmas around the table were a little overcooked, with one of them having an edge bordering on burnt, but only to a minor degree and not a whole lot to complain about.
After the fantastic schnitzel foundation the toppings, while perfectly good, were a little disappointing. Perhaps I had high expectations but the flavours of all the toppings were a tad muted. The ham was there, but barely detectably in terms on flavour and even the napoli, of which there was plenty, struggled to make itself known. For quite a few mouthfuls all I could taste was schnitzel and cheese - however with such a good schnitzel underneath these minor faults are easily overlooked, I would suggest they switch to a smoked ham to give it a bit more kick in the future.
The chips were the closest thing we've had to perfection in quite some time - narrowly beating out the schnitzel as the star of the dish, they were beer battered beauties - with a fantastic crunch, pre-seasoned with herbs and plenty of salt. They tasted fantastic on their own but as an added bonus each plate was supplied with an individual tomato sauce pot to mix things up. I normally try and find a criticism to level out the review but to be honest I can't think of a single thing I would change about these chips. Fantastic.
The salad was a tough one to judge. The menu advertised it as a "Rocket and parmesan salad" - and that is exactly what we received. The salad was a pile of rocket, some dressing and a whole lot of powdered parmesan. If you read these review often you will know that I'm not a big fan of rocket salads in general, and a salad with rocket as its only vegetable sent alarm bells ringing.
I actually enjoyed it! It wasn't fantastic, the rocket was a little wilted, but there was a heap of tasty dressing and they weren't at all tight with the parmesan - I'm not sure if had enough nutritional value to still qualify as a "salad", but it was a tasty side to the dish - If I could change one thing I would suggest a shift to freshly shaved parmesan, there's just something about powdered parmesan clumped through a salad that just doesn't present well.
For $23 I'd happily return for a parma of this quality. You get what you pay for and this is a parma I'd happily shell out again for. There is a Monday - Friday $15 parma lunch deal that is definitely worth checking out if you work in the area. Not to mention the "$6 for any drink" Thursday happy hour, which is enough to put a smile on any alcoholic's face.
Despite a couple of minor complaints I'd have absolutely no problems recommending Imperial's parma. The next time your wife/girlfriend drags you to a shopping day in Chapel street find a time to excuse yourself from the man-chair by the change rooms and be sure to duck in for a quick parma and pint - you won't be disappointed.
- Amazing quality schnitzel
- Near perfect chips
- Toppings slightly flavourless
- Salad a little boring