Where? - 15 Hall St. Newport
Price? - $23
Website? - http://junctionnewport.com.au/
Reviewers – Fridge, Lee, Nikki, Stefo[/info]
For parmas this week I opened up our map and thought to myself "where haven't we been", keeping an eye out for what I have dubbed "blackspots" - Suburbs in which we have yet to do a parma review.
For some reason my eye was drawn to the west of Melbourne. We've done a few in Williamstown, and a couple in Footscray, but there is a substantial gap in between. I checked the list of suggested parmas to see if we have any in that area that we haven't tried and...
I found the Junction Beer Hall.
I knew absolutely nothing about this pub going in, To be honest I hadn't even heard of the suburb of Newport before this week (I've lived a sheltered life, okay?). But looking at the website it seemed like my kind've place. We loaded up the parma bus, fired up google maps and headed to Newport.
If you frequent the trains on the Werribee or Williamstown lines you will know the Junction as the pub directly across the road from Newport Station. From outside it looks like your standard pub - but I was delighted to find that inside they've done a spectacular renovation, transforming this massive area into an impressive bar. With a beer hall on one side, a gorgeous courtyard in the middle and a calm, elegant wine bar. The night we were there was the Beer Banter special event, so we opted to have our parmas in the comfy and spacious booths of the more subdued wine room.
We quickly checked the menu, spied our target -
... and placed our order.
Shortly after ordering we were delivered some piping hot baguette slices for the table - off to a fantastic start.
Now the beer list in the main bar is phenomenal. 18 rotating craft beers on tap and a book of over 70 local and international beers by the stubby. In the wine room things are a little more focussed on (you guessed it...) the wine list, with only a few tap beers available (Some selections from the Two Birds range was on tap the night we ate. Bantam IPA and Sunset ale if memory serves - no complaints here). The food menu is the same between rooms.
We polished off the complimentary baguette and flatbread with tzatziki entree, both delicious. Shorty after that the main event arrived from the kitchen -
As soon as it hit the table I knew it was going to be quality. Every schnitzel around the table was uniquely shaped so you know its real chicken. The breast was thick and crispy and the crumbs carried a perfect crunch. Some parts of the chicken were slightly dry - but thats a very minor complaint.
What it lacked in circumference it more than made up for in thickness, this was a deceptively big bird that left nobody at the table hungry. When it comes to schnitzels this parma was ready to play with the big boys.
The toppings were solid. The mozzarella was on point and the ham carried a fantastic flavour that wasn't lost in the dish (although the menu on their website advertises prosciutto, which was missed, that needs an update).
The napoli was rich and flavoursome but it wasn't very well distributed on the schnitzels, some areas were dry while others were swimming in a saucy pool. A bit of consistency would've been great.
This is how you should do chips. A massive serving of beer battered beauties, cooked to crunchy perfection and not being smothered by the parma. They could've used a tad more seasoning but salt pots on the table made short work of that issue - If they had've served them with a pot of aioli or sauce on the side it would've put them over the edge.
The salad was perfectly serviceable, but probably the weakest part of the dish. Leafy greens in a tasty dressing. I enjoy onion in my salad and I only got a single sliver while others got more, so luck of the draw on that one. Everything was fresh, it just didn't wow me like the rest of the meal did. Nothing bad, but nothing amazing.
I'd gladly fork our $23 for this parma again, no question whatsoever. Checking their website there is currently no regular parma night listed, but to be honest I wouldn't need one. This parma gets my seal of approval, and its definitely worth putting on your list.
The Junction was an unexpected surprise, A pub for beer lovers by beer lovers. I wouldn't pick such a great craft beer spot to be nestled out in Newport of all places - Yet we have stumbled upon what I'd call the best craft beer spot in West Melbourne (that I have been to, please no angry emails). Do yourself a favour, dump the kids off at Scienceworks, and go check it out... Actually I take that back - Visit the Junction then go with your kids to Scienceworks. Scienceworks is a blast for all ages.
- Amazing quality schnitzel, great tasting parma
- Fantastic beer battered chips
- Great range of craft beers
- Parma could be a little dry at times, poor napoli distribution