Where? - 53 Balmain St. Cremorne.
Price? - $21 for 350gm, $18 for 175gm
Website? - http://thecherrytree.com.au/
Reviewers – Fridge, Lee, Matt S, Nikki, Pat, Stefo, Tony.
When Reviewer Tony recently got a new job in Cremorne I had two questions. The first being "Where the hell is Cremorne", and the second being"any good pubs in the area we can try?". Our first attempt in finding Tony a good after-work pub was our recent trip to the London Tavern which, while being pretty good wasn't a home run, so when he suggested we try the Cherry Tree Hotel I was on board.
To answer my first question before, Cremorne is kind've between Richmond and East Richmond. If you head south from the pubs on Swan Street (The Precinct, The Corner etc...) You're in Cremorne before you hit the Yarra. A very trendy little spot filled with old warehouses converted into office spaces and old warehouses converted into apartments - and nestled amongst it all is the Cherry Tree Hotel.
Any pub with this over the bar is already winning points in my book
I liked the Cherry Tree from the moment I walked in. It's a laid back, no nonsense spot with a great "local pub" vibe. The front bar was quite packed yet still remained spacious and the dining area out the back had plenty of room to move.
We grabbed a seat in the dining area and checked the menu -
Two choices for parma size depending on how hungry you're feeling. Six out of the seven of us ordered the 350gm parma while Reviewer Nikki (who struggles to finish her parmas at the best of times) stuck with the 175gm model.
I was surprised that there wasn't any table service out in the dining room - I'm not complaining, as its much easier to split the bill when eating in a group if everyone just orders at the bar, but it definitely added to the laid back vibe of the Cherry Tree.
Now, before the parmas, lets talk about the beers. The Cherry Tree had an impressive range of craft brews available -
From the well-worn blackboard its pretty safe to assume these taps rotate quite regularly. I started my evening with the Boatrocker Ramjet - a 10% ABV whiskey barrel aged imperial stout that will put some hairs on your chest - A fantastic beer, but you couldn't sit on them all night unless you wanted to, ya know, die.
From there I moved onto the 4 pines with my parma (light and refreshing, a great palate cleanser after the Ramjet) and finished up the meal with a Matso's ginger beer - A great way to finish off a meal - and I barely scratched the surface of the Cherry Tree's tap list - Will definitely head back here and give it another look-see.
Anyway enough about the beers - On to the parmas...
The 350gm -
And the 175gm -
The schnitzels were a bit divisive, here at ParmaDaze we usually like our schnitzels thick, classically we go by the rule of "the less hammered, the better" as shown by our Best New Parma of 2014 winner The Wolf & I, which was pretty much a chicken breast that was crumbed without ever seeing a mallet.
The Cherry Tree went the other way - it was big in circumference, but hammered quite thin - not unlike the parmas you get at Mrs. Parmas in the CBD. It was a bit of a sticking point, but to be honest I didn't hate it - Although thin it was real chicken breast and the crumbing retained a solid crunch the entire way through. If I did have a criticism I'd say ease off on the mallet a little - If only to give the bird a chance to retain some of the juiciness you get with the thicker schnitzels, and maybe consider pan-cooking them instead of chucking them in the deep fryer.
If the schnitzel's thickness was a big issue the toppings definitely saved it - piled on thick and high with cheese, sugo and "Barkly's Bomba Ham" - which was quite tasty, although its flavour got a little lost amongst all the others as the toppings were all very flavoursome. The mozzarella was cooked to golden-brown perfection and the sugo gave the parma some much needed moisture.
The chips were pretty good. A decent serving served almost out from underneath the parma - was no need to add extra salt as they were very well seasoned straight out of the kitchen. A great addition to the meal.
It's not often we see garden salads packed with this much stuff. Lettuce, cucumber, capsicum, tomato, onion and even beetroot - this was a packed salad. Fresh and crisp with a light baslamic dressing. As far as garden salads go this one was pretty good.
Looking at the Cherry Tree's website I can't see any mention of a meal special beyond a $15 pizza & pot, so parma night hunters are out of luck on this one. However I'd be happy to shell out another $21 for what I received. The ingredients were top notch and, despite a couple of stumbles, this was an all round pretty decent parma.
The Cherry Tree is a backstreets gem that I'd be stoked to call my local, and its definitely the best we've come across so far in our little "search for reviewer Tony's after-work pub" - if only for the fantastic tap list. Worth a crack if you're in the area.
- Quality ingredients with a lot of flavour
- Great tap list behind the bar
- Schnitzel was hammered quite thin