Website? - http://www.maxscorner.com.au/
Reviewers – Fridge, Kylie, Lee, Shanan, Stefo [/info]
I've lived in and around the Essendon area my whole life, and for as long as I can remember, in one form or another, there has been Max's. Starting off as a tiny little cafe Max's has now spread out to envelop the majority of the corner of Mount Alexander Rd and Leake St. With more outdoor seating than you can shake a stick at its a popular spot to stop for a coffee, its not unusual to pass on a warm summer night to see the place packed to the brim.
Talking to people about Max's in the past I've always got the same feedback - "The food is good, but the service is terrible" or "it was nice, but they messed up my order" from multiple people at multiple times, and stopping in for breakfast on occasion I have been victim to it myself - One time walking out after not being served 15 minutes after being seated. But that was a while ago - Perhaps they had sorted out the kinks, we arrived at the Cafe and took a seat inside (just a little too chilly for Al Fresco dining tonight, although there were plenty of heaters). Were given menus and spied our target -
A little pricey but I don't mind paying a premium if its a quality parma. The service was quite slow (it took about 10 - 15 minutes after we were seated for anyone to ask if we wanted a drink) but the staff all seemed to be armed with touch-screen PDA's to take orders on, so I had confidence they would get it right - and surely it'd be nearly impossible to mess up an order of "five parmas". We considered getting a cheesy garlic bread as an entree - Until we saw that they charge $14.90 for it. I'll say that again. $14.90. For garlic bread.
The beer selection wasn't outstanding, but I wasn't expecting too much from a cafe - No taps, just bottled beer (run of the mill stuff - Carlton, Heineken, Crown Lager, Asahii etc. I think the most exotic beer on the list was Peroni) All quite pricey with most bottles somewhere between the $7 to $8 mark.
Shortly after four parmas arrived - I was scared they had forgotten one, but it appeared from the kitchen a few minutes later. Crisis averted.
Alright lets start with the schnitzel... It wasn't good. It was processed, thin, small and far too overcooked. wait, not overcooked, burnt. Just looking at the photo you can see all of the black areas of the schnitzel showing through under the toppings - that wasn't just on the edges, the entire surface of the schnitzel looked as it it had been chucked onto a bonfire. The crumbs, while black, weren't too thick .... Probably the nicest thing I can say about it.
Surprisingly, the toppings were actually the saving grace of this parma. The napoli was rich and fresh, there was just the right amount of cheese which was flavourful and well cooked, not to mention a liberal sprinkle of shaved parmesan atop the melted cheese which was a very nice touch. I would have loved some ham, however it didn't really need it as the toppings worked well enough without. Its a damn shame they cheaped out on the schnitzel as these toppings on a decent bird would have been outstanding.
Chips were very basic. Unsalted, unseasoned pub chips - although they all came with a little squeeze container of tomato sauce without being asked - that was a nice touch. Not a whole lot to say about them though ... average.
The salad had good points and bad - for some reason I got the core of the onion, which was a little off-putting. None of the ingredients seemed fresh and it was quite dry - but the inclusion of olives was a nice touch, if they had've committed and gone full Greek salad (perhaps with a bit of feta?) It would have been much better.
For $22.90? Never again. This is a $15 parma at best and should be priced as such. For $23 I want more than a supermarket deli case schnitzel and two olives in my salad. If they sold it at a fair price I could possibly forgive this parma's shortcomings - but unless something changes I'll be giving this one a wide berth in the future.
I still like Max's, on a nice day the outdoor seating is a great spot to chill with friends over a cappuccino or try to remedy a hangover with a big breakfast on a Sunday morning - But its very expensive for what they serve. Other than some tasty toppings I wouldn't recommend this parma at all. I will go back to Max's Corner, but I'll stick to coffee.
- Delicious toppings
- Sauce packets for chips supplied without request
- Processed schitzel