[info]When? - 20th of August, 2015
Where? - 171 - 175 Elgin St. Carlton
Price? - $12 Parma & Pot. All Day, Every Day.
Website? - http://theshawdaveyslum.com.au/
Reviewers – Lee & Nikki
We have a rule at ParmaDaze that a pub isn't eligible for a redo for at least twelve months after the initial review. We actually came up with this rule because of the Shaw Davey Slum, as a couple of months after we gave them the lowest score we've ever given a parma, word on the grapevine came through that they had made some changes. I floated the idea of checking them out again and was shot down, with a lot of claims of "why would we want to go there again?!". I still wanted to check them out, so, as a compromise we came up with the 12 month wait rule ... and on June 6th of this year the 12 months was up (okay so we're a little late ... sue me).
It's worth noting that this is the first time in five years that one building has received three reviews. Once when it was Pugg Mahones, the first attempt when it became the Shaw Davey Slum, and now its redo - fascinating, no? As with all redos I'm going to be making a lot of comparisons to what it used to be like, so it might be worth reading the old review before starting on this one, but here goes.
We arrived at the Shaw Davey Slum and at first glance it looked pretty much as it did a year ago ... On second glance there have been some subtle changes. The candy jars behind the bar are gone, the wacky Austin Powers-esque uniforms on the staff are gone, even the old diabetes inducing cocktail menu has been slimmed down to something a lot more manageable I used to say that the Shaw Davey Slum "looked like Sex and the City threw up in it" - and it still retains some of that whimsical charm, but I said at the end of the last review that they need to "dial it back" and it seems like they have done exactly that - its a much more muted experience that is less of an assault of the senses.
We wandered to the upstairs area and took our seats, having never been upstairs at the Slum before I was surprised at what a great spot they have up there. A big glass rooftop looks up at the sky (if it weren't past dark at the time we visited I'm sure it would have been a great view), with rusted corrugated iron walls, one section of the wall wallpapered with a Sherrin football pattern while the other displays a massive TV projector screen, and a third wall is completely dominated by a giant Aussie flag. If downstairs at the Slum was for the girls, upstairs is definitely the spot for the blokes. We grabbed a seat and checked the menu.
lets compare that to the menu from the first time around (I warned you, there's gonna be a lot of comparisons) -
Yep. This is definitely gonna be different to the parma from twelve months ago. If you've gotten this far and have been too lazy to read the old review, here is the summary of what we didn't like about the old Shaw Davey Slum -
- It cost $19, no chips or salad included, they were $7 extra each
- The "bacon bolognese" topping it seemed like a good idea, but actually tasted like burnt taco meat.
- The cheese was bland and tasteless
- Beer was served in plastic pots
Now since our last visit the Slum seems to have realised that they are two blocks from Melbourne Uni, and as such, seem to have shifted their focus to appeal to the starving uni student crowd. It's actually hard to keep track of all the drink and food specials going on, but here are the highlights (check the website for the rest).
- $12 Parma & Pot of Bowler Beer or Cockatoo Cider. All day, every day
- $2 pots or $10 Jugs of Bowler Beer or Cockatoo Cider. All day, every day
- $20 Bourbon & Coke jugs. All day, every day
- $7 Cocktails 5-8pm & 9-11pm All day, every day
- $5 Coronas. All d... you get the picture.
And thats just the tip of the iceberg! So much going on it's definitely worth checking the calendar before you visit as there are day-specific specials as well.
We placed our orders at the bar and kicked back with our free pots of Bowler. Taste-wise its about as good as you'd expect $2 pots would be (not dissimilar to the Railway's cheap jugs of house beer) but it does the job. The best part? It came in a glass. I've never been happier to get a beer served in a glass as opposed to the crappy plastic pots we received last time, we haven't even gotten our parmas yet and they're already kicking goals.
About 25 minutes after ordering our meals arrived from the kitchen, first (as is tradition with Redo's) lets take a look what came before -
And now, the new -
Quite a change as you can see! The schnitzel is much smaller than last time, understandable for the price. This parma has definitely slipped into the "budget parma" category - so you can mentally add "but its only $12 with a pot" after every criticism I give. As I said the schnitzel was smaller than last time. Not the thickest schnitzel but not processed.
The crumbs were still a bit soggy but I blame the napoli for that (more on that in a sec). It was pure chicken breast, well cooked and served piping hot. Not quite as juicy as I like it, slightly dry, but that shortfall was made up for with the napoli (again, in a sec)
Usually the first thing out the window when a pub tries to cut costs on a parma is the ham, which was nowhere to be seen on this parma. The cheese mix had a bit more bite than the cheese last time, a welcome improvement - although I think it could have used an extra handful. The napoli was quite sweet, which some may love and some may hate - if you hate sweet napoli you're out of luck as there was a lot of it on the parma, and the flavour dominated the entire dish (but as I mentioned earlier, compensated well for the slightly dry chicken).
Chips were included in the price this time around! Points right there. They still haven't deviated from the maccas shoestring fries but at least we weren't paying seven bucks for the privilege. There was a decent serving and they were seasoned quite well (I picked up some spice - possibly chicken salt?) no need for additional salting, however some of the stragglers around the edge were quite cold by the time I got to them.
The salad was quite simple - rocket and cabbage tossed in a balsamic dressing. It was flavoursome, but an extra ingredient or two (maybe some onion?) wouldn't have gone astray.
It's hard to keep track of the amount of specials we took part in on the space of one meal. From memory we had the $12 parma & pot, a bunch of $2 beers and a $7 cocktail (and trust me, they didn't skimp on the booze). We've been to a few pubs around Carlton that target the Melbourne Uni kids and this is definitely one to check out. It's not the best parma you'll eat, but its only $12 ... and its a hell of a lot better than the first time around.
I'll be back to the Shaw Davey Slum. I like everything they've done to the place since our visit twelve months ago. From the decor, to the specials to the parma itself everything is better - I'd say its the most drastic turnaround we've had between redos. Actually if you look at my list of gripes from earlier in the review -
It cost $19, no chips or salad included, they were $7 extra eachFixed! The "bacon bolognese" topping it seemed like a good idea, but actually tasted like burnt taco meat.Fixed! The cheese was bland and tastelessFixed! Beer was served in plastic potsFixed!
Now the parma won't blow your socks off, but as I say standard "budget" parma rules apply. It's only $12 with a pot. If you're still hungry afterwards get another one, or another beer, or a burger (I saw a burger, they looked alright). Definitely one for the students to check out.
- Fixed pretty much all of our criticisms from last time
- $12 with a pot, all day every day
- $2 pots of beer & cider
- A little small
- Napoli was quite sweet