Website? - http://www.arcadiahotel.com.au/
Reviewers – Fridge, Lee, Matt, Nikki, Stefo, Tony [/info]
If you live anywhere near South Yarra you'll probably know The Arcadia as "the pub with the VB sign" - visible for miles around, especially when lit up at night, the red neon "Victoria Bitter" letters on the side of the pub are definitely a sight to behold.
We have had quite a few recommendations of for the Arcadia's parma over the years but never quite managed to get around to giving it a go, however when it got an endorsement over Twitter by none other than Rob "Millsy" Mills of Australian Idol, Wicked and Grease fame (among other things), we decided it was time to check it out!
I'm searching for a word to describe the decor of the Arcadia, and the best I can come up with is "Eclectic". Once you arrive it feels as if you take more than three steps in any direction and you're in a completely different pub. Different lighting, different floor covering, different vibe all together. We took a seat in the no mans land between the carpeted "country shed" inspired pool table area and the white-tiled, blue lit "snow" themed restaurant area. Checked the menu and spied our target...
We placed our orders at the bar, grabbed a pint and waited for the food to arrive - There is a Tuesday night parma special that I will talk about a little later, but as we were there on a Thursday it was "$12 steak night" and I must say, the steaks coming out of the kitchen looked absolutely superb. If this was any kind've indication as to the quality of parma we were going to receive, we were in for a top meal.
About 3/4's of a pint later our parmas appeared from the kitchen -
Without doubt the schnitzel quality of this parma was outstanding. Pure, white, thick, and juicy chicken breast was expertly coated in a layer of crispy crumbs. I always say you can tell a good parma when you'd be happy to eat the schnitzel without any toppings - this is one of those parmas. Cooked to perfection with the perfect balance of crunchy crumbs to the juiciness of the chicken, and the thickness of the breast ensured it stayed piping hot throughout.
The toppings were also pretty damn good. The cheese was tasty and cooked perfect bubbly golden brown. I would have loved some more napoli sauce, as it was there but not entirely noticeable, and its flavour got lost amongst the other elements of the dish. The standout for the toppings, however, was the ham. Thickly shaved and carrying a delicious smokey flavour that permeated the chicken - the ham was an outstanding addition to an already pretty fantastic parma.
Chips were also pretty good. They were set beside the parma, well cooked and plenty of them, plus crinkle cut chips are always a bonus (although not quite as good as beer battered). They did need a little seasoning and would have really shone with some aioli. A little bit of friction arose when we requested tomato sauce that was never delivered, and we had to hunt it down ourselves ten minutes later - but that was a minor hiccup.
The salad started out great but went downhill quickly - A separate bowl, which is nice, contained a mixture of very well dressed lettuce, cherry tomatoes and onion - but not much else. A bit of cucumber or carrot would have been greatly appreciated, as well as some smaller leaves of lettuce (they were unwieldly, had to be cut before putting them on the fork).
I have zero complaints about paying $18.50 for the meal we received, and have absolutely no qualms recommending it to others - The Arcadia puts up a fantastic parma that I would go out of my way to try again in the future. To sweeten the deal Tuesday night is Parma Night at the Arcadia, with a few novelty topping options thrown in for good measure -
If the quality is consistent with the full priced parma (and if the look of the steaks on steak night is anything to go by, it is) then this is a fantastic deal that is definitely worth a go!
While the decor of the Arcadia is a little off-the-wall, they serve up a quality parma that I will be back for no doubt. One of the best we've had this year, a couple of minor tweaks and the parma at The Arcadia Hotel would be playing in the big leagues - definitely worth a look.
- Amazing quality schnitzel
- Ham carried fantastic flavour
- Reasonably priced
- Salad was boring