When? - 11th of September, 2014
Where? The Eureka Hotel, 1 Church St. Richmond
Price? - $23 standard menu, $15 parma night Monday & Thursday
Reviewers – Fridge, Lee, Nikki, Stefo
All the times I was recommended The Eureka I just couldn't picture it. Surely I must have passed it hundreds of times - The corner of Church St and Victoria St. Yep, I walked across that intersection last month. But nothing ... try as I might I couldn't quite place it. Even walking in the door I had no memory of ever seeing this pub - sure I've heard about it a bunch of times, I've received emails in the double figures in the four years we've been doing this recommending the Eureka, but it had managed to slip past me every time.
I thought I had a point to that story. But it looks like I don't ... never mind! Point is, we went to the Eureka.
The front bar of the Eureka has a fantastic country pub vibe. A relaxed spot where you can chill with a pint over a game of pool, Big Buck Hunter (which takes credit cards now, isn't that insane?) or just kick back with a pint and watch the footy on one of the many big screens. The menu is formidable, just looking at the big board on the wall is enough to give an indecisive person a stress rash -
The bar snacks menu alone is enough to keep me happy for quite a while - There is nothing on that section that I wouldn't like... Come to think of it, I don't think there's anything on that menu I wouldn't be happy giving a crack, although you can keep your Quinoa salad, thanks.
Luckily we didn't have to think too hard as our target was front and center - Chicken Parma w' chips & salad for $23. The paper menu gives it a fancier description -
I also need to mention that The Eureka runs a $15 Parma & Pot night on Monday & Thursdays, as it was Thursday night we reviewed this parma it was bonus for us!
The beer selection wasn't terrible, 24 taps rotating a bunch of different beers - nothing overly special, but a decent mix of the standards and borderline craft beers, enough to keep us satisfied.
Now on Tuesday this week I found myself at the Oxford Scholar, I didn't have a ton of time so rather than having the parma I opted for an old school classic - chips & gravy. I'm telling you this as trying chips & gravy on Tuesday had given me a taste for it - so when I ordered the parma tonight I opted to throw an extra $2 Eureka's way and add a side of gravy to my parma, purely for chip dipping purposes.
Orders were placed, free pots were collected and we awaited the arrival of our dinner - just as I was finishing the pot our parmas arrived...
The schnitzel was impressive. Big, thick and juicy - cooked to perfection, pure white chicken breast. The crumbs were thin and, while a little soggy and lacking that crunch you want with your parma, conservatively applied. My one complaint with the schnitzel that I felt really distracted me from the meal is that it was ... I don't want to say cold, because that would be an exaggeration, but it wasn't hot. I like my parmas piping hot and this one felt like it had spend some time waiting for the others to be prepared.
The toppings on this parma were absolutely outstanding. The napoli was rich, fresh and insanely chunky. The cheese was applied liberally and grilled to a perfect golden brown. The ham ... I have never seen so much ham on a parma in all of my life. Look at the below cross section and you'll see what I am talking about. Absolutely insane. It had great flavour that permeated the dish, was definitely one of the best elements of the meal.
The chips were also pretty good - Beer battered and well seasoned, plenty of them and cooked perfectly (crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside). They were tasty enough to stand on their own without the need for gravy on the side - but I still enjoyed the occasional dip. I know we're not here to criticise the gravy, but I will say it was a tad watery for my tastes, and would have preferred it a bit thicker.
On the plate the salad looked amazing. Chock full of ingredients - cucumber, capsicum, onion, plenty of chunks of tomato and very little lettuce - it looked more like a fresh salsa than it did a garden salad. I was excited for it, but then I took a bite - Unfotunately Eureka have chosen to dress their salad in a very odd choice of salad dressing. It was insanely sweet - almost like caramel, I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was, so we asked the waiter who checked with the chef - He told us it's a 'proprietary blend' that uses Vanilla ... that's what the sickly sweet flavour was. Vanilla.
I'm all for vanilla, I think it's an amazing ingredient - but I don't think it works in a salad dressing. It was off-putting and made a fantastic looking salad a disappointment.
As I mentioned before we were there on parma night. Monday & Thursday for $15 with a pot. At that price I can't recommend this parma enough - definitely one to check out if you're in the area on Monday or Thursday. It was quality through-and-through and as far as value goes this one is hard to beat. For the full price of $23? Yeah ... I'd still recommend giving this one a go. I wouldn't say run out the door this second, but if you're in Church St. and looking for a quality pub meal I'd say pop in to the Eureka and give it a crack.
I like The Eureka, it had a good vibe, impressive menu and a damn tasty parma at a very reasonable price. It wasn't perfect, but I feel all the elements of a perfect parma are there - they just need to tweak their execution slightly and they'd be on track. Minor complaints though, a valiant effort from the Eureka that I recommend checking out.
Rich, chunky napoli
Abundance of flavourful ham
Great value on Monday & Thursday
Served slightly cold
Unappetising salad dressing