Where? 43 Victoria St. Footscray
Price? - $19 for standard, $14 for half-parma, novelties vary (see review)
Website? - None that I could find, other than their Facebook Page
Reviewers – Cale, Fridge, Hayden, Kylie, Lee, Nikki, Shanan, Stefo, Tony[/info]
** EDIT - 18/2/15 - I'VE CONFIRMED THAT THE PARMA NIGHT SPECIAL IS A WEDNESDAY NIGHT THING, WITH THE SPECIALS BOARD ROTATING TO OTHER STUFF ON OTHER NIGHTS OF THE WEEK - HOW WE MANAGED TO GET PARMA SPECIALS ON THURSDAY IS A MYSTERY TO ME - MUST'VE BEEN A FLUKE! SO KEEP THAT IN MIND WHEN READING THE FOLLOWING REVIEW... ENJOY!
I'm still not sure what to call this pub. Their Facebook calls it Harts Hotel, Google maps calls it Victoria Hotel, Urbanspoon calls it Victoria Harts Hotel and their are signs up on the building itself that call it Harts, Victoria and "Harts Victoria Hotel" ... However when I called to book the table on Thursday afternoon the lady who answered the phone called it Harts Victoria Hotel, so that's what I'm sticking with (plus it sounds like "Hearts Victoria", and I also heart Victoria).
Walking into the Harts Vic is like stepping back in time. An extremely spacious public bar greeted us with all the staples of a pub I'd love to call home. Exposed brick, old school wood panelling, so-ugly-its-awesome patterned carpet. It feels like a country pub that hasn't changed in decades, yet its tucked away in the middle of Footscray.
Beer options are pretty basic, but enough to get the job done. If you're after anything much fancier than a Carlton Draught then you're in the wrong pub.
Once the crew arrived we moved through the public bar into the bistro, which was already bustling with patrons tucking in to some great looking meals ... I had a good feeling about this place.
We checked the menu...
Spied the specials board...
And placed our orders. A few at the table took advantage of the Aussie and Mexican specials, I stuck with the standard. Also worth noting that we were served bake-at-home bread rolls with tatura butter after we ordered - Have I mentioned in the past how much I love this? If not, I love this.
I wasn't sure what to expect when we ordered these parmas, I guess the fact that a half-serve parma was even on the menu was a clue that we were in for something mammoth.
After polishing off our rolls and a couple of cheeky games at the candy machine in the public bar, our parmas started to file out of the kitchen. Good lord.
First up was the standard -
Second was the Mexican (Salami, jalapenos, salsa and guacamole)
and the Aussie (egg, bacon & BBQ sauce)
These things were huge. I was a little worried that a parma this big, at the price would have to be processed crap - but no, real, unprocessed chicken. The chicken wasn't overly thick, but at the sheer size of this meal it didn't need to be. The crumbs were herbed and not too thick - my only criticism would be that the crumbs were a little soggy, detracting from the rest of the dish - but thats a minor complaint.
The toppings were applied liberally. To be honest I was a little jealous that I didn't go with the Mexican or the Aussie as they both phenomenal (just look at those pictures up there) The three cheese blend used on mine was damn tasty, a perfect mix of creamy and crunchy. The napoli was a little lost in the shuffle but it was there .
One gripe I had was that it didn't come with ham, which normally I would be okay with, but the Aussie and Mexican parmas came with bacon and salami respectively and were both cheaper than the standard - I understand that they're on the specials board, but a slice of ham chucked my way would have finished this parma off perfectly.
Chips were pretty good. Chunky, well seasoned and well cooked. If the parma wasn't so big that I was so full it hurt to move for hours afterwards then I'd say that the serving was a little small, but I honestly couldn't have eaten another bite if I tried.
The salad, like the parma, was massive. Garden salad stuffed with onion, carrot, cucumber and tomato. Everything was fresh and it accompanied the dish quite nicely, although I would have loved a little more dressing as it got a little dry in parts.
The value of this parma is off the charts, especially for the special's board parmas, $15 for the Aussie, $16 for the regular is just impossible to beat (and we got bake at home rolls as well!) - I would call that cheap for a standard sized parma, but that price for the behemoth we were served? Phenomenal. If you're not a big eater I'd recommend starting on the half-serve. They call it a half serve but I'm pretty sure its bigger than 75 percent of the parmas we have tried - for only $14 you can't go wrong.
Now I don't really have a spot for this, so I want to make special mention of the staff at Harts Victoria Hotel - In over 200 parma attempts I don't think we've ever had a friendlier group of people take care of us. They were warm, attentive, went above and beyond to make sure we were okay and more than happy to have a chat - A fantastic group of people running a fantastic pub.
I'll be back to the Harts Victoria Hotel, and you should check it out as well. It's a meal that any parma lover would enjoy at an old-school down to earth Aussie pub (a dying breed these days). I can't guarantee how long those novelty parmas will be on the specials board so better get down there quick before they're gone! You won't regret it.
- Amazing value
- Free bake at home rolls
- Amazingly friendly and welcoming staff
- Crumbs were a bit soggy