Where? - 299 Brunswick St. Fitzroy
Price? - $20
Website? - http://provincialhotel.com.au/
Reviewers – Fridge, Lee, Matt, Nikki, Tony [/info]
If, by this point, you are unaware who the Open Door Pub Co. is you haven't been paying attention and need to focus up (or you just don't read these reviews as often as I think you should, which is, in my opinion, an even more heartbreaking fact).
Either way here is a quick refresher - If you've tried a parma on our top ten, chances are it was from a pub in the ODPC's stable. Our top parmas are littered with their pubs - The Imperial, The Exchange, The Duke, The College Lawn & The Portland Hotel to name just a few. They've got a great pedigree, so when I'm craving a good parma my first stop is usually checking which pubs in the Open Door Pub Co. we haven't done. And we're running out. If you had've asked me yesterday I would have said we had two ODPC pub's left to do. Now we have one.
Before I ever knew The Provincial was an OPDC pub I liked it. It ticks almost every box for what I like in a pub
- Live Music ✓
- Good Cocktails ✓
- Lots of exposed, aged wood & brick ✓
- Overstuffed leather couches ✓
- Beer garden ✓
- A bunch of different rooms to lose yourself in ✓
- A solid range of craft beers ✗
- A live-in pub dog ✗ (although he may have been hiding at the time, who knows)
Like I said, almost every box. The beer list seemed to be firmly planted in James Squire's pocket - Not that that is a horrible thing, still plenty of tasty beers there, but a bit more variety would have been nice.
Not that I had a lot of beer, as unbeknownst to us until we arrived, Thursday night is 2-for-1 cocktail night at The Prov. $18 gets you two of any of the below cocktails -
I indulged in the Moscow Mule and Espresso Martini - both all sorts of deliciousness.
We took our seats in the dining area between the front bar and the beer garden, checked the menu -
Other than the 2-for-1 cocktails, the specials board had listed that Thursday night was also "Schooner & Schnitzel night" for $15. We inquired about the special but, unfortunately, the deal only applies to a plain schnitty, no parma toppings included.
After about 15 - 20 minutes our meals started appearing from the kitchen -
The schnitzel was both this parmas biggest strength and one of its major downfalls.
First up the sized varied significantly around the plate - Mine (pictured) got the short end of the stick and I got the smallest of the table. Not that it was criminally small, I didn't walk away hungry, but I was definitely looking at the other plates with envy. At the same time, one thing variance in size can assure you of is that this is real chicken breast, no processed cookie-cutter heart shaped schnitzels here.
The schnitzel was fresh, juicy and carried a great flavour - but a big criticism I had about it was that it was crumbed as if it was a poor quality schnitzel. Like they were trying to hide something even though they had nothing to hide. The crumbs had the trademark crunch I love, however they were quite thick for the quality of the chicken, to the point where they started to detach from the chicken. As I said, wholly unnecessary as the chicken breast was quality.
The toppings were good all round. The napoli was fresh and flavoursome, the cheese was tasty but there could have been more (lots of nudity around the edges). The slice of ham was definitely appreciated, and its flavour definitely made itself known.
One issue I had, and I'll get to it in more detail a little further down the page, but they needed to put their salad in a bowl. The dressing they put on the salad had a very strong, invasive flavour that soaked into the base of the parma and definitely detracted from my enjoyment of the dish.
The chips were stellar. Just how I like em. Beer battered, well seasoned, served to the side of the parma, crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside and we were delivered a pot of sauce with the parmas ... what more could a guy ask for!? (Although they also were victim of the "invasion of the salad dressing")
Now. The salad. It was actually quite tasty and unique - It seemed to be an attempted hybrid of a garden salad and coleslaw. We had lettuce leaves, tomato, cucumber and onion... along with shredded cabbage and capsicum. I couldn't quite put my finger on the flavour of the dressing, my best guess would be olive oil infused with ... something. Perhaps lemongrass or some other spice? I didn't hate it on the salad, in fact I quite enjoyed it - but it needed to be kept in a bowl so that it didn't invade all the other elements on the dish.
For twenty bucks? Yeah I'd give this parma another crack. The two-for-one cocktails definitely helped sweeten the deal. If the Provincial extended their "Schooner & Schnitzel night" to include parma toppings I'd be telling you to drop everything and go now. Well, not now, the next convenient Thursday night that the deal would be available. But you know what I mean.
In re-reading the above review I feel that it might've come across a tad harsh, I suppose that, being an ODPC pub, I put the provincial under a stronger microscope than I do other parmas - To be fair this is the pub group that brings us our multi-award winning number 1 parma.
I enjoyed the parma at The Prov. It's not without its faults, but its definitely worth checking out if you're in the area.
Our last remaining ODPC pub is the Geebung Polo Club in Hawthorn. Definitely gonna save this one until we really need it.
- Quality chicken
- Great chips
- Tasty toppings
- 2-4-1 Cocktails
- Thick crumbs
- Salad needed to be in a bowl
- Some schnitzel nudity