Where? Shed 9,T18/161 Harbour Esplanade, Docklands
Price? - $26, with a $22 Tuesday parma night (see review)
Website? - http://www.woolshedpub.com
Reviewers – Fridge, Lee, Matt, Nikki, Tony[/info]
If you're ever walking out of a game of footy at Etihad stadium and think to yourself "I want to have a beer in a massive warehouse", then the Woolshed Pub is the spot for you. Situated around the back of the stadium, between Etihad and the water, lies the Woolshed Pub, and (despite being a massive warehouse) is actually a really well put together spot.
There's a lot of different vibes at The Woolshed. To one side there is an outdoor area that provides stunning views of the bay and Bolte Bridge, perfect for sippers on a summers evening. The opposing side also has tables - minus the view but with a more "beer garden-y" feel. Inside and to the left there is a cosy, very flash looking bistro and to the right is the main event - the wide open, high roofed spaces of the main pub floor. It'd have to be damn busy for this place to feel packed, plenty of room to move with an impressive bar in the middle of everything I just mentioned. All up I was very impressed with this pub's fitout, they've put a lot of work into it, and it shows.
But how was the food? Rather than head into the bistro we opted to grab a table in the main bar - It was a perfect night to eat on the water, but unfortunately that was taken by a private function the night we visited. We took our seats, scoped the menu...
... and placed our orders.
As for beverages to accompany our meal? There are a decent selection of taps -
And things get a little more creative when you head to the bottled stuff. Nothing out of this world (the craft beer enthusiasts may go a little wanting) but definitely a big enough selection to wet any whistle.
I bought a pint when I ordered the meal and about 3/4 of the way through our parmas arrived at the table -
When it first hit the table the schnitzel looked quite small, very small even, but once I cut into it I realised just how thick this beast was - well over an inch in some places, this was pure chicken breast, no processed crap here. The shape of the parmas varied greatly from plate to plate, but all staying relatively the same size.
Very conservatively crumbed in what looked like a in-house made crumb mixture with a lot of herbs and a strong lemon flavour (I'm guessing either lemongrass or straight lemon juice). In the end the schnitzel was still a tad to small for my liking (we'll get to that later), but much more filling than I expected when I first laid eyes on it.
The toppings were an interesting mix. The pancetta was absolutely fantastic (I hate to use this term, but it was the hero of the dish) If you like the salty punch of pancetta then you will love this parma.
The napoli was plentiful and tasty, and if there was more cheese on the parma it would have struck a perfect balance - Unfortunately cheese was the only thing this parma lacked, there was barely a dusting of cheese on top and it really hurt this meal, as I said it caused the napoli to dominate this dish far too strongly, and really highlighted a tomato pastey character that would have remained unnoticed had there been more cheese.
I've said it time and time again, I'm not a fan of fries with my parma. This prejudice was tackled recently when we discovered The Wolf and I, where I discovered that "Maccas chips" could actually be done well, and the Woolshed is another pub that is slowly turning around my opinion. Yes they were fries, but these fries were done well. Served piping hot, in a decent serving and very well salted (with tomato sauce supplied on request). Yes, they were just maccas fries, but these were just about as good as they get.
The salad was a divisive one. I like my salad drenched in dressing, others like their salads crisp and able to breathe. The salad at the Woolshed was definitely the former, so I loved it. Very basic garden salad of lettuce and onion, absolutely swimming in dressing. I liked it, others didn't ... it depends on your opinion (if you care about salads at all).
This is where things are gonna take a turn for the worse in this review. Value. I placed my order for 2 parmas (not both for me, buying for Reviewer Nikki as well) and a pint of Boags ... $63 - $26 each for the parmas. Thats a pricey meatball, especially following last week's extremely good value for money parmas. Like I said this parma was bigger than I expected, but nowhere near Twenty-six-dollars-big. I'm not a tightarse but for that price I expect a top 10 parma ... yes the pancetta was delicious, and that can get expensive, but this just wasn't worth the money.
Saying that, there is a $22 parma n' pot night on Tuesdays. This is a much more reasonable price and I'd be more than happy to pay that for what we got, hell I'd even recommend it if you're in the area on a Tuesday, but other than that its just not worth the ticket price.
The Woolshed was a tough parma to judge. A lot of things went wrong with this dish, yet it wound up being quite an enjoyable meal. I am on the fence as to whether I'd give it my "seal of approval" though. It's a tough one, I think I'm gonna stick to my earlier sentiment of "Yes, if its on a Tuesday" with a clause of "and make sure the weather is nice, because that's a great view as well" ... It doesn't quite roll off the tongue when it comes to sign-off lines, but it'll do.
- Thick, juicy chicken breast
- Fries were good (for fries)
- Pancetta was full of flavour
- Minimal cheese