[info]When? - 5th of March, 2015
Where? - 269 Spring St. Melbourne
Price? - $17
Website? - http://www.elmshotel.com.au/
Reviewers – Daniel, Emma, Lee, Matt[/info]
**EDIT**14/06/16 - Since this review went live the Elms Family Hotel has closed its doors due to the block being developed into apartments, This parma is no longer available but we'll keep the review live for posterity - A shame that we lost one of Melbourne's most unique pubs.
Here's a bit of troubling news about our search for the perfect parma - We're running out of pubs in the city. It's nothing to be too worried about, our "parmas to try" list is still over 100 pubs long, but of that list only about five are in what I'd consider to be in the CBD. Sure new pubs are opening every day, there are probably heaps I don't know about and there are always redo's - but its still kinda troubling!
So when I had a hankering to head into the city for parma night this week pickings were slim, but after a bit of time on google maps I spied our target - Elms Family Hotel.
The pubs website doesn't give much away in terms of what to expect when walking into The Elms, So we were really going in blind on this one. Upon entering the pub I was absolutely floored. I've said in previous reviews of pubs around Melbourne that the venue is "like a country pub", but Elms Family Hotel absolutely takes the cake.
I honestly don't know how this pub has survived so untouched in so long. It's a complete anomaly, Elms Family Hotel looks like it hasn't had a thing changed about it since the mid 60's (with the exception of a couple of new TV's). I'm not saying its a bad thing, I love it, its just so surreal being able to sit in a pub and forget you're in the middle of Melbourne. You could just as easily be in Mildura and not be able to tell the difference.
The selection of beers are exactly what you'd expect from a country pub, just the staples - VB, Carlton and I think I saw a Fat Yak tap. There was a fridge with a small selection of bottles and Crown Lager stubbies were on special for $6 - It may have been a small selection but every pint they pulled was ice cold and delicious. It's also worth mentioning that there is a cosy smokers area/beer garden out the back and some tables & chairs on the street for curbside bevvies.
We ordered our parmas at the kitchen window and moved around the corner to the spacious bistro.
That's a grab of the menu from the website - note that since the site was updated the price of the parma has raised to $17.00. Damn inflation!
The parmas arrived quickly - no more than 10 minutes after we ordered we were presented with our meals...
The schnitz was probably the weakest part of the dish, It had a decent circumference but the chicken was quite thin with a thick layer of crumbs. The crumbs had soaked up the majority of the napoli sauce leaving them a bit of a soggy mess. It was processed to the max, but on the plus side it was well cooked. Golden brown and not burnt.
As I mentioned 90% of the napoli was soaked into the crumbs, so I didn't really get to taste it.
There was no ham but plenty of cheese - Which was probably the best element of the parma - It was cooked perfectly and stayed un-rubbery the entire meal.
Props to The Elms for serving their chips beside the parma. They were fish & chip shop style, well cooked and very well seasoned with chicken salt giving them a great flavour - The chips were probably my favourite thing on the plate
The garden salad was basic, but fresh and crisp - plenty of dressing and not short on ingredients. It was a little small but it did its job adequately.
$17 is a bit steep for a processed parma. I don't think I would partake again at full price. There is a $12 parma & pot lunch special on Monday to Wednesday, 12 till 2, That'd be the only time I could recommend giving it a crack for a quick & cheap feed.
I respect the hell out of The Elms Family Hotel for sticking to their guns and maintaining the "country pub" feel. I don't think any pub I have visited in Melbourne does it better. I hate giving pubs I like a bad review, but if you're ever in the area be sure to stop in for a beer and enjoy the trip back in time (no DeLorean required).
- Fresh, crisp salad
- Delicious seasoning on the chips
- Processed, soggy schnitzel
- No ham, undetectable napoli