Website? - http://www.gabrirestaurant.com.au/
Reviewers – Daniel, Ella, Fridge, Kylie, Lee, Matt, Nikki, Shanan, Stefo [/info]
** NOTE - This pub has closed! Parma no longer available - Review will stay up for posterity. Enjoy!
When we first started Parma Daze our regular weekly parma night was not Thursday as it is today, but 24 hours previous - on Wednesday. For the life of me I can't remember when or why we switched things to Thursday night, but it has been that way for quite some time. I like Thursday nights, I'm adjusted to it - When Thursday night parmas rolls around it kicks off the wind-down to the weekend (because lets face it, nobody does any real work on a Friday anyway).
The problem with parmas on a Thursday is that we miss out on a lot of special parma nights. Back in the Jimmies days Wednesday night was parma night - you couldn't get the parma any other time (Sunday nights maybe, but Wednesday was the night). Early - mid week is the most common time for pubs to throw on a parma night as they know it draws a crowd on an otherwise quiet period.
That is why when I heard Gabri run a Wednesday-only parma night I knew we had to take things old school - So last night we headed out to Brunswick East for Wednesday parma night.
We have been to this building before, back in October 2010 we visited 43-49 Lygon St. when it was known as "Crooners". They put on a decent bird from what I remember, So I was keen to see what their successor plated up.
We arrived at parma night - I panicked a little initially as there was no signage that it actually was parma night, and with no parma on the regular menu I was a little scared we would walk out parma-less - No dramas though, as once I asked if it indeed was parma Wednesday we were presented with a parma-centric menu...
Some tantalising choices! This parma night had gotten off on the right food with value like that, lets just hope the quality of the parma backed it up. Being a purist (and needing someone to get the standard parma, as a baseline) I opted for the "English virginia ham parma", The most popular parma of the group was the "Texas meat lovers parma" (ham, bacon AND salami - hard to blame them) and there were a couple of South Yarra Yuppies and a Mexican in the mix as well.
Nine parmas at once is a big order, so when the clock ticked past half an hour after ordering I wasn't too concerned. I had just finished my free pot when they started filing out of the kitchen -
Now the following comments apply to my parma, as there was some inconsistencies around the table that I will cover later. Much like the parma at Crooners my schnitzel, while massive, actually consisted of several (around three) smaller schnitzels fuzed together with cheese and ham.
As far as schnitzel quality goes it was pretty good. Juicy chicken, medium thickness, and real chicken breast. The crumbs on the other hand weren't and good. Every inch was completely soggy - no crunch at all, It also could have been a little hotter, a common complaint around the table was that the parmas and the chips (more on those in a bit) were bordering on cold.
The toppings, although applied a little haphazardly, were pretty good. For a "standard" parma they didn't skimp on the ham in the slightest, there was plenty of cheese and although most of the napoli had been absorbed into the crumbs it still carried a good flavour.
While this parma was big, with plenty of toppings and quality chicken the flavour just didn't quite do it for me, it was a little bland and suffered from a minor case of Big Parma Syndrome I felt myself wishing I had've opted for a novelty parma to spice things up a bit.
For the sake of completeness below I've posted a photo of the Texas Meat Lovers parma as it was delivered - You will notice that my parma was unique to the meat lovers (and every other parma at the table pretty much) as it is a single piece - not a frankensteins monster of smaller schnitzels cobbled together. I'm not too sure where my opinion stands on this, Sure I'd like to have one solid schnitzel, however my parma was a fair bit bigger than everyone else's. It's a tough call...
The chips were pretty disappointing. If you read Parma Daze often you'll know that I normally don't complain about the parma being presented on top of the chips (a pretty common complaint). I've had enough parmas to know that if you extract the parma from atop the chips when it arrives at the table it really won't affect them all that much. That being said, as my parma wasn't one solid piece I was physically unable to pick the whole thing up without the risk of tearing the toppings off one of the schnitzel bits, So I had to leave the chips under the parma to die a humid, soggy death as I ate.
Standard shoestring fries (aka. "Maccas chips"), unseasoned and lukewarm, all considered they were probably the worst part of the dish. Which is probably for the best, as if the parma was the worst part of the dish this review would have a much angrier tone.
The salad was a mixed bag - served in a separate bowl all the ingredients tasted fresh and crisp - however the bowl was deep, and the good stuff (cucumber and tomato) was only placed on the top, not mixed through the salad - so after the first two bites I was left with a bowl of lettuce. Good to start, boring to finish.
$14.90 with a pot (beer, soft drink or house wine) can forgive a lot of the criticisms I just brought up in the previous eight paragraphs. Remember that the parma doesn't appear on the standard dinner OR lunch menu, so if you want to give it a go you will have to go on Wednesday night. These days a parma under $20 is rare, so under $15 definitely needs some praise. For the price and the size the schnitzel is good quality - I was half expecting a heart-shaped processed monstrosity for $14.90, and was pleasantly surprised to find otherwise - I definitely didn't walk away from the table hungry.
The stars need to align for my recommendation of this parma to work - If you're in Brunswick East on Wednesday night and looking for a decent feed that's easy on the wallet then definitely give Gabri a visit - I'd recommend it with the novelty toppings as the few bites I had of my neighbour's Texas Meat Lovers was more enjoyable than my standard.
We'll be switching back to Thursdays as having a parma Wednesday has thrown my whole week off (it totally feels like Friday today). But I'm definitely not against another Hump-Day parma night should a good deal present itself in the future
- Huge parma, decent quality schnitzel
- A bargain at $14.90 with a pot
- Bordering on cold
- Disappointing chips