Where? The Golden Gate Hotel, 238 Clarendon St. South Melbourne
Price? - $24
Website? - http://goldengatehotel.com.au/
Reviewers – Emma, Lee, Matt, Nikki & Tony [/info]
The Open Door Pub Co. is a name not many people will have heard of, yet if you read Parma Daze at any sort of regular interval then the names of the pubs in their harem will definitely sound familiar. Some of the best parmas we have had have come out of the ODPC, The Imperial, The Exchange, The Duke, The College Lawn & The Portland Hotel to name just a few - They have a fantastic pedigree when it comes to the parma and the top end of our ladder is littered with examples of that - so when I'm really craving a good bird on any given week, a quick look at the ODPC's stable is usually all I need.
Unfortunately there are a finite amount of pubs owned by the group, and not all of them serve a parma - Of the ODPC's flock of 18 pubs we only have a handful left to try - So I try to ration them out, as once we've done them all there's nowhere else to go ... But this week, coming fresh of a fun long weekend and really hating having to go back to work, I bit the bullet and queued up one of the remaining ODPC pubs - The Golden Gate Hotel.
I think I say this in every 3rd review on this site, but the Golden Gate is one of those pubs that I never really noticed before. There's a stationary store across the road that I got wedding invitations from a couple of years ago which I was at seemingly every weekend for a couple of months, yet stopping into the Golden Gate for a bevvie never seemed to enter my mind (and trust me, when planning a wedding many beers are needed).
The place is very nicely fit out, skilfully renovated with a clean, modern feel while still remaining cosy (it was far to hot to have it running, but there was a lovely looking fireplace in the dining area). I counted twelve taps running different beers, nothing too fancy (Boags, the James Squires, Little creatures, Heineken, Asahii - you know the drill), but easy enough to find something to wet your whistle.
After a refreshing pint in the front bar waiting for the group to arrive we retreated to the near-empty dining room, there were a couple of tables of couples whose hats clearly revealed they had come from the spring carnival, but overall the table booking seemed unnecessary as there were plenty of empty seats.
We got our menus and spied the target -
I've scoured the internet for mention of any sort of parma night at the Golden Gate and have come up empty handed, They do, however offer a $10 steak all day-every day and a "any drink $5" Happy Hour from 4 - 6pm every day.
We placed our orders and waited for the parmas to arrive - which they did, about 25 minutes afterward ...
The schnitzel? Fantastic. Almost impossible to fault. It was massive, the crumbs were crispy and carried an amazing crunch and the chicken breast was pure white - one of the whitest chicken breasts I think I've ever seen. It was thick, unbelievably juicy and steaming hot when served - and remained that way the entire meal.
I will note that when we were waiting in the front bar I saw a couple of parmas come out of the kitchen and they were served with the chips and salad in separate bowls alongside the parma - which was not the case with what we received, I'm not sure if it was because we were in the dining room or they simply ran out of big plates, but it's worth a mention.
The toppings were another triumph, other than some slight nudity around the edges I really have nothing to criticise. The saltiness of the prosciutto worked beautifully with the unique flavour of the cheddar (a cheese we don't often come across on a parma, which worked beautifully). The napoli was plentiful, fresh and chunky.
I'm racking my brain to find something I didn't like about this parma but I'm honestly having trouble coming up with anything - I guess if you aren't a fan of prosciutto it might not be for you, as that is somewhat of an acquired taste - But definitely give it a go if you're on the fence.
The chips received mixed reviews - depending on your stance on shoestring fries or "Maccas chips", as we call them, your opinion may also differ - but I've never been a fan. They were well seasoned and dusted with herbs. The menu touts that they are served "skin-on", I'm not sure why this is promoted as a feature as I can't really see anything the skins add to the dish, other than saving some prep-time peeling potatoes in the kitchen I can't really see the advantage. I wasn't a huge fan, if you hadn't guessed, but other reviewers around the table seemed to enjoy them, so I guess it falls to personal opinion. They do, however, get points for serving the parma with an individual sauce pot, completely unrequested.
The salad was a let down, plain and simple. A massive pile of watercress and onion, drizzled in some oil. It tasted like grass and just felt like an afterthought lumped on the plate, a definite low point to an outstanding parma.
This parma chimes in at $24, which seemed reasonable for the dish I received. I'd have no qualms with coming back to the Golden Gate for another parma and can easily recommend you also give it a go.
Well it looks like the Open Door Pub Co. have done it again. Not their best effort, but definitely a great crack - the prosciutto and cheddar was a unique combination that worked stunningly well. If we just rated the parma itself this would be playing in the big leagues, unfortunately it was betrayed by some so/so chips and lackluster salad - But don't let the sides hinder your enjoyment of an otherwise stellar bird.
- Amazing quality schnitzel
- Prosciutto and cheddar combo worked wonders
- Maccas chips
- Bland, afterthought salad