When? - 9th of July, 2015
Where? - 316-320 Queen St. Melbourne
Price? - $21.50 ($15 Parma's of the World & Pot Tuesday)
Website? - http://www.celticclub.com.au/
Reviewers – Lee, Nikki, Stefo
UPDATE 24/08/18 - The CELTIC CLUB is no longer, IT HAS PULLED UP STUMPS, MOVED TO NORTH MELBOURNE AND BECOME 'CELTIC AT METROPOLITAN'. Click here for an updated review
When I was a fresh-faced eighteen year old I got a call from a friend of mine. He had nothing to do, I had nothing to do, so we figured we would go down to an Irish pub and find out what all this "Saint Patrick's Day" hoo-haa was all about. Which Irish pub did we pick? The Celtic Club.
Innumerable pints of Guinness later and we were in love, clearly this was the best pub in the world. We were gonna sign up as members, and be back to this glorious watering hole every week at least. Despite being nowhere near where we lived it was going to be our new local.
Fourteen years later we walked into the Celtic Club for the second time... We kind've dropped the ball on our big plans. But this time we had a new objective - The parma review.
Rare for a pub, the Celtic Club has information pamphlets scattered around the pub, one of which I grabbed on the way out - so who better to tell you about the Celtic Club than the Celtic Club themselves! -
"Located in central Melbourne, the Celtic Club is Australia's first Irish Club and has a reputation for providing a warm and hearty welcome since 1887. Irish and other celtic groups at the Club continue to grow.
Music sessions are a regular feature at the Celtic Club as well as cultural and heritage events.
Restaurant and function facilites are also available"
Man ... that makes my job so much easier. Why can't more pubs do that?
The Celtic Club is a traditional Irish pub - If you've been into an Irish Pub in Melbourne you pretty much know the score. Dark carpet, dark wooden bar, plenty of nooks and crannies to hole up in and nurse a pint of Guinness. As soon as we arrived I remembered why we liked it so much fourteen years ago ... and I won't lie, by the end of the meal I was considering signing up as a member again.
We grabbed a table in the dining area, checked the menu...
Note - I edited this image as the menu on the Club's website still has it listed as $19.90, which is incorrect. I'm pretty sure it was $21.50 ... Might have been $21.60.
And we placed our orders at the bar.
Plenty on offer in terms of beers, Pints of 150 Lashes were going for $8 on Thursday so I partook in that special with gusto, but other than that 12 taps throughout the pub offered pretty much any style you would be hankering for, with another 14 bottled options if the taps don't tickle your fancy.
A couple of the review team ducked into the Pokies room to lose a few bucks and after no more than 15 minutes our parmas arrived from the kitchen.
As you can see I drew the old "two smaller schnitzels combined with cheese and ham" card. I'm not sure whether this is a bad thing or not, Glass-half-empty people may say that the chicken is overall smaller, but the eternal optimist that I am prefers to think of it as I got two parmas when everyone else only got one. Bonus.
The chicken was well cooked, juicy and piping hot - There were some issues with the crumbs falling away from the chicken itself, but nothing too annoying, the crumbs were thin and the chicken was relatively thick, which is all that matters.
There was plenty of mozzarella cheese, but I think it could've used another few minutes under the grill as it wasn't quite golden brown. The ham was a lovely touch and they weren't at all tight with it. The napoli sauce, however, could have used a little more love. There was barely any on the parma and the nap that was present didn't really add anything to the dish. That would probably be my complaint overall actually - Technically it was a decent parma, but it just lacked that "oomph" to carry it over the line. I don't want to say it was bland, but I'm having trouble coming up with a less harsh sounding word.
From the wording on the menu I was expecting McDonalds style french fries, so when the parma arrived nestled on a bed of proper chip-style chips I was pleased. They were well cooked and a decent serving, but completely unseasoned and required a heavy pour from the salt shaker to bring them to life.
The salad looked promising, plenty of ingredients and a big serve, bright and colourful on the plate - but in the end it wound up falling kind've flat. The lettuce was a little wilted and it could've used a splash more dressing. It wasn't bad, but nothing spectacular either.
For $21 I'd consider having this parma again. They run a $15 "parmas of the world" with a pot on Tuesday nights that I have heard is quite tasty - And I think some novelty toppings is just what this parma needs to get it to the goal, Definitely worth checking out if you're in the area (and for $15 with a beer you can't really go wrong!)
I need to live up to 18-year-old-me's promise and head to the Celtic Club more often as its a cool little spot, and I'm honestly surprised it has taken us this long to check it out. If you're in the area (especially on a Tuesday) I'd say its worth a crack, if only to enjoy the ambiance of one of the coolest Irish pubs in the CBD.
- Piping hot
- Plenty of cheese and shaved ham
- Proper pub chips instead of fries
- Not enough napoli
- Toppings a tad bland - definitely one for novelties.