Website? - http://cliftonhillbrewpub.com.au/
Reviewers – Bearder, Dale, Ella, Fridge, Lee, Nikki, Stefo, Tony [/info]
"The best beer is drunk in the shadow of the brewery", A quote emblazoned on the front of the Clifton Hill Brewpub's immense drinks menu. This is a pub that loves its beer, both made in house or sourced from around the country, The Clifton Hill Brewpub is an amazing place to stop in for a fantastic craft beer.
But what about the parma? We came across The Clifton Hill Hotel after reading This Article about good pubs to find Craft Beers in Melbourne - and they aren't wrong, if the introductory paragraph didn't make that clear.
We arrived at the pub, the newly refurbished decor is very impressive. Sleek, stylish while retaining a classic pub atmosphere. Open fireplaces and a pool table really help to up the "cosy" factor while still managing to feel new and modern. We started our night by losing a few bucks on the "Hotwire" quiz machine over a pint before moving into the dining room.
Before getting to the parmas we had another gander at the drinks menu, a staple of the brewpub and personal favourite of mine is the tasting paddle - and The Clifton did not disappoint - $12 gets you this beauty -
Perfection. Of the four beers on the paddle I'd have to say my favourite was the Clifton Hill Dark Ale - I normally cannot drink too many dark ales before filling up but this one was buttery smooth, I could sit on these all day.
Now, to the main event. First up there are a couple of novelty options to cover -
It's nice to see an Eggplant option for the vego's, I'm constantly asked for suggestions of good vegetarian parmas, so I will definitely remember the Clifton Hill in that regard.
Orders were placed, mostly for the standard Chicken Parma but there were a couple of Mexicans and a Chorizo in the mix as well. I finished my paddle, went to the bar and got a full pint of Dark Ale, took a few sips and the parmas arrived -
Impressive from the word go. The schnitzel was thick, well cooked, unbelievably juicy and chock-full of flavour. No processed schnitzel here, this was pure white, quality breast that I'd have trouble faulting.
A fantastic foundation to the dish (increasingly rare for a pub with novelty parmas on offer).
The toppings were also hard to fault. 100% coverage on mine (although there were some reports of minor nude schnitz around the table) Heaps of golden brown, bubbly cheese and plenty of fresh, chunky napoli.
The nap was definitely the star of the dish, it was flavourful, well spiced and carried fantastic flavour throughout the dish. I said "fresh" already but I really think it needs to be said again, definitely a standout element. If I had one minor criticism it would be that it was a touch too watery, which leaked through to the chicken and took some of the crunch out of the crumbing on the schnitzel. A minor complaint to what was an outstanding parma.
The chips were an absolute triumph. A tick in every box -
- Served in a bowl/basket to the side of the parma? Check.
- Well seasoned? Check.
- Crinkle cut? Check.
- Aioli for dipping? Check.
- Tomato sauce for dipping? Check.
- Decent serving? Check.
- Well cooked? Check.
Absolutely fantastic. One thing I will mention is the aioli. I was both excited and intrigued when I saw that all of the parmas came with "beer aioli", A perfect fit for the Clifton Hill Brewpub. Now I'm not exactly sure what Beer Aioli actually is supposed to taste like, before yesterday evening I didn't even know that Beer Aioli was a thing that existed in this world, but I was keen to give it a go.
The verdict? Garlic. that's all I could taste - Not that its a bad thing, garlic aioli is one of my most loved chip-dips on the planet. I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting, nor where I'm really going with this sentence. I guess you could sum it up with "the beer aioli tastes a lot like garlic aioli, which is still kind've a good thing I guess."
After all of the positives the salad was a bit of a let down. Also served in a bowl to the side (good start) It was a standard garden salad of lettuce, onion, cucumber and tomato. My major issue was that once you got through the first layer of goodies on top all that was left was a bowl of undressed lettuce. It was fresh, but a little dry, bland, and definitely needed a good toss.
$19 for a meal like that? I'm a happy chappy. There's a $20 "Parma, Pot & Trivia" night on Tuesdays that would definitely be worth checking out should you be in the area, very tempting.
All in all The Clifton Hill Brewpub is a solid little package. Great atmosphere, fantastic beers and a parma worth bragging about. I didn't try the novelty toppings myself but word around the table was all positive - I got a look at them and from what I could tell it seemed as if they didn't go overboard with the changes, every addition did its best to subtly help improve the flavour of the parma while not being overpowering and still retaining the essence of what a parma is. I'd recommend this parma with or without novelty toppings, I don't think you could go wrong either way.
Next time you get a chance definitely pop down to the Clifton Hill Brewpub for a pint and some tucker, you won't be disappointed.
- Fantastic parma, fresh and tasty
- Phenomenal chips. Well seasoned, separate bowl, delicious chip dip.
- Boring salad