Where? - Corner of Bourke and Spencer St. CBD.
Price? - $16 with a pot of Boags. Thursday only
Website? - http://thesavoytavern.com.au/
Reviewers – Fridge, Lee, Matt, Nikki, Stefo [/info]
If you're anything like me, when you think about the Savoy Tavern on the corner of Bourke and Spencer Street, you think of this...
Which is how the pub looked for many, many years.
But last year some new life was breathed into the old girl, after a staggering revamp, the Savoy Tavern now looks a little something like this -
Quite an upgrade!
The renovations are spectacular - They have found the perfect balance between retro drinking hole and a modern pub. The booths are plus and roomy, plenty of TV's to catch the footy and I just love that they still have the old school cigarette butt trough running along the base of the bar (you can't use it, of course, but its a great remnant of a simpler, smokier time). Smokers will be happy though as there is a quaint little courtyard to the side where you are free to get your nicotine fix.
We took our seats and checked the menu, now we normally try and avoid these but this deal was too got to pass up -
That vague mention of a "parma night" on the website refers to this parma being $16 with an included pot of Boags. That's good value right out of the gate.
But. (and this is important) As far as I can tell there is no parma on the standard menu at the Savoy, meaning the parma we are about to review is available Thursday nights and Thursday nights only. I don't want you rocking up on a Tuesday to disappointment. There is a plain schnitty available on the other nights of the week for $16 (no pot)... but its just not the same.
The beer list at the Savoy won't win any awards, but there's enough to wet your whistle. The Savoy has solid roots in the Lion range of beers (Boags, Hahn, James Squire, Heineken, Kirin etc.) with the occasional dalliance into something more substantial, such as Stone & Wood Pacific Ale.
Anyway. We ordered at the bar and about 25 minutes later the main event arrived -
The schnitzel was decent. Not the best quality we've had but it was real chicken breast and well cooked - If I had to nitpick I would say that the crumbs were applied a little too thick which was unnecessary as they had nothing to hide, this was a quality bit of chicken.
Other than that it was a little bit overcooked. I don't mind my parma crunchy but we had a couple of edges that took it a little too far over the line. But as I said I'm nitpicking, this was a solid foundation for the meal.
The toppings were damn good. If you like a lot of napoli this is the parma for you - Which is a good thing as the napoli on the Savoy's parma was fresh, chunky and had a fantastic rich flavour - definitely the highlight element on the plate.
The cheese was also applied liberally and grilled well. The ham was there and appreciated - but its flavour was kind've lost amongst the stellar napoli.
I'm not big on shoestring fries with my parma, so these chips were never going to do well. They were well cooked and plenty of them but I just have trouble getting on board with shoestring unless they are done spectacularly well, which these weren't. They weren't bad, but they weren't great. Just standard.
Oh, and the Savoy needs to invest in bigger plates. As I mentioned in the Chicken Scratch I posted a couple weeks back about the parma being served on top of the chips I am usually pretty adept in manoeuvring the parma away from the chips when it's delivered - but the plate at the Savoy was just too small and a large portion of my parma had to be eaten with the chips still suffocating underneath.
For salad we had a rather liberal serving of coleslaw. Shredded cabbage, carrot, a lot of onion and ... peas (for some reason).
The peas were an odd choice but they didn't really add or detract from the coleslaw at all. There was so much onion in it that its pretty much all that could be tasted. I love onion so I loved this coleslaw, however the rest of the group wildly disagreed with me, so I guess it just comes down to personal taste.
For value this parma smashes it out of the park. Normally a "parma night" is an excuse to roll out the processed schnitzels, no ham and generally crappy toppings but The Savoy thumbs its nose at this practice. If I worked in the city and didn't have to try a new parma every Thursday night then I'd be more than happy to make this a regular stop.
The Savoy's parma isn't without its faults but for only $16 with a pot a lot of sins can be forgiven. It's a fantastic pub with a brilliant old school vibe that I will definitely stop back into for a quick drink the next time I'm in the area - For the price you haven't really got anything to lose, so its definitely one worth checking out.
However this story doesn't have a happy ending as plans to demolish The Savoy and build a high-rise apartment building have just been approved, so get in quick before we lose a Melbourne gem we only just had the chance to discover.