Website? - http://www.waterloocuphotel.com.au/
Reviewers – Bearder, Cale, Fridge, Lee, Stefo, Tony [/info]
The Waterloo was my first pub. Not the first pub I ever went into, but the first pub I considered "mine", My local, my personal version of Cheers.
Wednesday nights at the Waterloo when I was 18 were everything I could have wanted. The beers were cheap, there was a Daytona machine in the corner and plenty of pool tables - sure it was dirty, but every strip of masking tape on that ratty old couch just added character.
Then the renovations came, all the dank was stripped away, the pub had a different vibe and we moved on. We discovered Jimmy Rowes and the rest is history.
Not long after starting Parma Daze we were driving past The Waterloo on the way to a different attempt (from memory I think it was The Doot, back in 2010). We stopped at the traffic lights and we saw a sign in the window advertising "$5 PARMAS", accompanied by a photo of the smallest, driest, most processed hunk of crap I had ever seen ... and this was on their advertising, so its safe to assume the final product was at least 23% worse than that.
Sitting at those lights we made a vow ... we would never do the Waterloo parma. It would be a waste of time, money and effort to knowingly go and try a terrible parma.
But as the old song goes, Waterloo - couldn't escape if I wanted too.
The Waterloo has recently undergone a management change, and last week I received an email from a delighted customer who had just tried the parma. He compared it to the Imperial parma, which definitely piqued my interest. Could it be? Had the Waterloo lifted their game? We loaded up the parma bus and went to investigate.
I arrived at the 'loo at around 6:15, tables were being set up for the weekly poker night, so I grabbed a pint and pulled up a chair (nothing spectacular about the beer selection here, The basics). Just sitting there I was having flashbacks to all my drunken Wednesday nights in that room. While waiting I overheard two separate groups talk about how good the parma was. I was starting to get excited. My expectations were rising. The rest of the group arrived and we moved through to the Bistro and took a seat, checked the menu and placed our orders.
The menu offers two different sized of parma, the regular size runs at $22, while a half size is also available for $16. If anything we now knew this parma was going to be big, as you wouldn't offer a half sized version of a small parma - that'd just be a chicken nugget.
Don't let the perspective fool you, thats a pretty impressively sized parma. The massive plate throws things off (quite possibly the largest plate we have ever been served a parma on, it'd be a close tie between here and the parma platter at Maxy's).
Every schnitzel around the table had its own unique shape, so no processed garbage here. I picked up my cutlery and tucked in. The schnitzel itself was pretty good. The crumbs carried an amazing crunch. It was crispy and fresh, my only complaint about the schnitzel itself would be its thickness - while it was pretty sizeable on the plate it had been hammered out just a little too much. I know some people prefer a thinner schnitz with a wider surface area, but I would have liked a bit more beef to this bird.
Pretty good topping coverage, I didn't mind the small areas of nudity as the schnitzel stood up on its own without the toppings. Ham was tasty but the three-cheese blend was the star, carrying a fantastic flavour throughout the dish. Negatives? The napoli. It tasted okay but there wasn't nearly enough. Twice as much napoli and would have been spot on, but without enough nap the meal felt a little dry at times.
Chips were solid. Separate bowl, beer battered and well cooked. Could have been seasoned a little more but thats a minor complaint - pots of tomato sauce were brought out without hesitation on request.
Garden salad was fresh, crispy and soaking in balsamic, just how I like it - however there were no surprised here. Just your basic garden salad (lettuce, onion, tomato, cucumber & carrot) for what it was it was good, but nothing to write home about.
For $22 nobody was walking away from that table hungry, So I was quite happy with that price. In the front bar there was a $15 Poker-night parma special but I can't vouch that its the same meal as in the bistro (the menu in the front bar only mentioned mozzarella, whereas the bistro menu touted a three-cheese blend).
Expectations were shattered with this parma. I don't think anyone at the table anticipated that they would enjoy this meal as much as they did. It's not a parma without problems, but if they upped the thickness slightly and laid the napoli on a little thicker it'd certainly be a contender. At this stage I'd say its worth trying out if you're in the area - Its not far from Flemington Racecourse or the Showgrounds, so it'd be a decent way to cap off a trip to either of those events.
- Massive parma
- Beautifully crunchy crumbs
- Tasty 3 cheese blend
- Needs more napoli
- Hammered a little too thin